For someone who claims to have Australia’s best interests at heart, Prime Minister Scott Morrison makes some strange choices. He originally claimed he wasn’t going to the Glasgow GOP26 Meeting of World Leaders because it would mean he would be required to undergo another two weeks of isolation. We’ll probably never know if the change of heart was new NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s ‘let her rip’ attitude to COVID-19 quarantine or the Queen’s ‘overheard’ comment in Wales that changed his mind. Yet there was far less hesitation in attending the G7 as an observer in Cornwall earlier this year. It seems that the only benefit from physically being at the G7 was a pub crawl in Cornwall and some footage for possible use on ‘Who do you think you are’.
Could the real reason for the hesitance in travelling to Glasgow be that Morrison has nothing of value to contribute? At the G7 he was so ‘popular’ that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson felt it necessary to be at Morrison’s ‘personal’ meeting with US President Joe Biden. It’s probably fortunate that Johnson was there, as Morrison didn’t seem to make a huge impression on Biden. A couple of months later at the launch of the AUKUS agreement, Biden couldn’t even remember Morrison’s name.
Morrison is a transactional politician. He understands that to retain power he has to retain the climate change denier rump of the National Party in his government. One of the strongest members of the rump is Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce. As CNN reported recently, ‘Australia’s climate policy is being dictated by a former accountant in a cowboy hat’. And they are right, Joyce is a cowboy along with Senator Canavan, the soon to retire (thankfully) George Christensen and a few others that are making Australia a ‘pariah’ nation. Joyce’s National Party is supposed to represent ‘regional Australia’ where there are many other industries apart from the one that is involved in ripping stuff out of the ground, transporting it to the coast and sending it on a nice cruise to somewhere else in the world. Most of the other industries are already concerned about changes to environmental conditions, not that you’d know it if you listen to the political party that claims the mandate to represent them. However, even the Mining Council announced at the beginning of October they support the ‘net zero by 2050’ objectives.
It’s claimed by CNN and others that Joyce claims he wants to see the figures before he can support a transition to ‘net zero’. Fortunately, the modelling is available.
Matt Ogge, an adviser at progressive think tank The Australia Institute, said Australia faces billions of dollars in economic damage without a more ambitious 2030 goal.
The UK has set a target of driving emissions 68 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030.
“Glasgow isn’t about 2050 targets; the whole game is 2030,” he said.
“It’s about reducing emissions quickly within the next decade.
“2050 is worse than irrelevant. It’s a distraction allowing people to do what they want for 30 years.”
The Institute calls itself ‘progressive’, which probably gives the Nationals’ cowboys an excuse to discount the value of the research that went into the report. The Institute isn’t the only canary in the coal mine – the same The New Daily article reports Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is warning
households of a potential rise in mortgage rates unless Australia gets its act together on climate.
“Australia has a lot at stake,” he said.
“We cannot run the risk that markets falsely assume we are not transitioning in line with the rest of the world.”
Separate analysis by Deloitte Access Economists (DAE) estimates that the Australian economy could lose $3.4 trillion worth of GDP in today’s dollars by 2070 if climate change is unchecked.
More than 880,000 jobs could be lost in key industries like mining, construction and tourism, DAE found.
Regardless of any actual or believed political bias, you do have to ask the question whether the research would be any less accurate than the $60 BILLION ‘rounding error’ in JobKeeper last year, a process the cowboys must have agreed to after they studied the figures.
Joyce is clutching at straws, claiming
he was “perplexed there’s not more discussion about what’s happening in the UK and Europe with energy prices”. He went on:
A 250 per cent [price] increase since the start of the calendar year. A few days ago, 850,000 people losing their energy provider and a real concern over there about their capacity as they go into winter to keep themselves warm and even keep the food production processes going through
In a perfect demonstration of cherry picking usually producing the wrong answer, The Guardian looked at the same issue and found:
Britain was suffering more than most from global supply chain problems mainly because EU workers had left and strict Brexit immigration rules meant no more could now come in, Der Spiegel said, creating labour shortages “everywhere where the work is hard, dirty and poorly paid”.
Economically isolated, the country faces “an autumn of discontent for which Brexit is not the only reason, but a key one”, it said. “The government, however, insists none of this has anything to do with leaving the EU, sticking defiantly to its Brexit success story – even if its statements are getting more and more bizarre.”
So much for Joyce’s ‘wisdom’. Funnily enough (and further proving Joyce has no idea)
it was also “geographically selective”, with no reports of panic buying in Northern Ireland, which has an open border with an EU member state. Nonetheless, “the Brexiteers invariably find other culprits for bad news”, the paper said, and much of the UK media were more concerned by “the government’s competence in dealing with the crisis” than the “structural hurdles imposed by Britain’s new status”
The Australia Institute is correct. While it is possible to make cosmetic changes quickly, deep rooted structural change to infrastructure takes time. We can’t continue like we are until 2049 and somehow wave a magic wand and be at net zero emissions or better in 2050. It just doesn’t work like that. The sooner the climate change denier cowboys work that out, the better. It’s about time Morrison wrangled them into line.
What do you think?
This article was originally published on The Political Sword
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