There are multitudinous more deserving reasons why Scott Morrison might not want to look Australians in the eye than the oft-repeated talking point that he can’t predict what jobs will be around and what electricity will cost in three decades time.
“I don’t sign up to anything when I can’t look Australians in the eye and tell them what it costs,” he said of a target of zero net emissions by 2050. “None of that information is before me that would enable me to give any such commitment.”
And yet, when he got rightly hammered for his inadequate preparation for, and reaction to, the bushfire crisis, in trying to regain some semblance of leadership, ScottyFromMarketing had no such qualms.
“Today’s cabinet was one of great resolve; it was one where we stood together and said, ‘whatever it takes, whatever it costs, we will ensure the resilience and future of this country’, and we will do it by investing in the work that needs to be done,” Morrison said. “The surplus is of no focus for me, what matters to me is the human cost and meeting whatever costs we need to meet.”
Considering the almost daily revelations about how the government hands out money – grants in marginal seats, contracts without tender, jobs for fellow travellers, subsidies for fossil fuels – it is obvious that Scotty is prepared to spend whatever it takes to protect his job.
Protecting the planet? Not so much.
Scotty tries to tell us that we are meeting and beating our targets though I haven’t heard the “in a canter” talking point lately. That’s probably because everyone knows it is bullshit.
The “Climate Solutions Package” announced in February 2019 confirms that the Australian government is not intending to implement any serious climate policy efforts. Instead, it wants to meet its targets by relying on carry over units from the Kyoto Protocol, which would significantly lower the actual emission reductions needed. The National Hydrogen Strategy released in November 2019 risks becoming a brown hydrogen strategy in favour of propping up coal and carbon capture and storage technology, rather than focusing on renewable energy and green hydrogen.
The government also wants to continue relying on the inadequate policy instrument, the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) now re-named the “Climate Solutions Fund” which is failing to contribute to any significant emissions reductions. Recent ERF auctions have seen fewer emissions abatements contracted, projects have been dropped from the fund for failing to meet abatements, there are issues of additionality, and the fund is dominated by land use sector abatements with a high risk of reversal, for example through bushfires.
The government continues to consider underwriting new coal fired power generation and extending the lifetime of old coal plants – completely inconsistent with the need to phase out coal globally by 2040 and in OECD countries by 2030. If all other countries were to follow Australia’s “Highly Insufficient” current policy trajectory, warming could reach over 3°C and up to 4°C.
In order to give Tim Wilson something to count off on his fingers when he is interviewed, we have a new slogan – ‘technology not taxes’.
‘Technology’ is held up like some shiny new bauble to bedazzle us. It will be our saviour repeats everyone issued with the latest talking points.
Except they are ignoring the technology that could save us whilst promoting things that won’t.
When Elon Musk said he could build the biggest lithium battery in the world in SA in 100 days, Mike Cannon-Brookes immediately challenged him to deliver, and he did.
Scott Morrison’s reaction? His best thing – mockery.
“I mean, honestly, by all means have the world’s biggest battery, have the world’s biggest banana, have the world’s biggest prawn like we have on the roadside around the country, but that is not solving the problem.”
In the lead up to the 2019 election, Labor set a national electric vehicles target of 50% new car sales by 2030, and 50% for the government fleet by 2025, as well as allowing business to deduct a 20% depreciation for private fleet EVs valued at more than $20,000.
Scott Morrison’s reaction? Mockery.
“Bill Shorten wants to end the weekend when it comes to his policy on electric vehicles where you’ve got Australians who love being out there in their four-wheel drives.”
The legions of fossil fuel lobbyists the government have hired to advise them are great on attack talking points but really crap at keeping up to date with what is actually going on in the world.
When Scotty says “None of that information is before me”, one would have to ask why not because it’s all out there.
As reported by Renew Economy:
In a landmark report last year titled the Australian National Outlook, the CSIRO – in conjunction with the NAB and former Treasury head Ken Henry – said 100 per cent renewables could be reached by 2050 and deliver a substantially lower cost of energy than we have now, and the whole economy could reach net zero emissions by 2050 and deliver a stronger economy and more jobs at the same time.
And the country’s Australian Energy Market Operator, whose prime responsibility is to manage the electricity grid and keep the lights on, has mapped out a blueprint to reach at least 90 per cent renewables in two decades.
Again, this is the cheapest option, as the combined research of the CSIRO and AEMO, with the input of dozens of energy experts and research groups, shows clearly that decarbonising through renewables is the quickest and cheapest path to cutting emissions.
More than $500 million has already been spent on CCS without saving a single tonne of emissions, or with any credible plan to do so, and another $500 million is going to a hydrogen pilot to sequester just three, yes, just three, tonnes of emissions from a brown coal generator.
Scott Morrison’s fear of setting a zero emissions target has nothing to do with jobs or cost or a lack of information and everything to do with trying to deflect any action away from the solutions we could already be implementing.
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