Over the past couple of weeks we’ve looked at some of the less savoury aspects of the current Coalition Government, led (for the moment) by Scott Morrison. This week, how about we look at the environmental record of this government, which reaches back to the days when Tony Abbott was the Prime Minister.
Abbott was elected partly on the false premise of ‘the carbon tax’ which really wasn’t a tax at all. To be brief, a tax is something you can’t legally avoid paying. A trading scheme, such as an Emission Trading Scheme, is a process where if you make the economic choice not to comply with regulations, you have to pay a penalty. The choice is yours. As Abbott’s Chief of Staff admitted years later, ‘the carbon tax’ was a figment of the LNP’s imagination designed to bring down the ALP government, although to be fair, the ALP Government of the day was ably assisting the process by repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot.
It’s history that Malcolm Turnbull rolled Incumbent Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2015. Turnbull attempted to introduce an emissions trading scheme in 2018 which assisted Scott Morrison to roll Malcolm Turnbull and become Prime Minister.
AAP has provided a history of Morrison’s environmental credentials here which seems to consist of maybe Australia will get to net zero emissions by 2050 (most of the world is actively working towards it rather than being aspirational) provided someone else stumps up the money and his caucus allows it.
We should remember Senator Michaela Cash’s claim at the last federal election that (then ALP Leader) Bill Shorten was going to kill off tradies using their ‘work’ vehicles on the weekend by subsidising electric cars.
“We are going to stand by our tradies and we are going to save their utes,” Ms Cash told reporters.
“We understand choice and that is what Bill Shorten is taking away from our tradies.”
She joined a chorus of Coalition figures who have criticised the Opposition’s announcement of a target for electric car sales to make up 50 per cent of the market by 2030 as well as new emissions standards for petrol vehicles.
While ‘fortress Australia’ attempts unsuccessfully to repel the infidel that may be carrying infection into Australia, the rest of the world is adopting measures that will improve the environment.
To purchase a petrol or diesel vehicle in the UK after 2030, it must be a hybrid – and even they are being phased out by 2035. Norway’s vehicle sales for the year 2020 were 141,412, about one tenth of the Australian annual vehicle sales. 83.45% of the vehicles sold were powered solely by electrons rather than fossil fuel.
In Australia, we are subsidising our remaining two oil refineries to upgrade and produce petrol that would only comply to the current European standards of sulphur by 2024 and the government has announced they will fund the installation of 403 electric vehicle chargers around the country.
The Gratten Institute has recently released a report calling for the removal of new petrol and diesel cars from sale in Australia by 2035 and subsidies for fully electric vehicles. Even the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industry agrees with most of the recommendations
However the FCAI has agreed with other aspects of Grattan Institute’s report, particularly its recommendations for tax reform including the axing of stamp duty, import duty, and luxury car tax on all zero-emission vehicles.
The Coalition Government has attempted to interest the private sector in the construction of a new gas fired power plant in the Hunter Valley with no response – so they are funding it through Snowy Hydro which is owned by the Australian Government. It’s no wonder no one would build it for them, as news.com.au reported at the time, the plant is likely to become a stranded asset.
But Andrew Stock, a senior energy executive with over 40 years’ experience, said the construction of a new gas power station would not lower electricity prices for homes and businesses as promised by the government. He claimed it would only raise them.
“Gas is expensive and gas peakers that rarely run need to drive up prices to get a return … Federal interference in the electricity market also discourages private sector investment,” he said.
“Any potential shortfall created by the closure of Liddell Power Station (in 2023) would have been filled by the NSW state government and energy industry’s announced plans to build renewable energy zones and big batteries across the state.
“Renewables are the cheaper, smarter choice to meet future energy demand compared to gas, which is expensive, polluting and worsens climate change. This decision is an all-round poor move for Australian taxpayers.”
In the UK, a major 3.6 gigawatt gas fired power generator has recently been scrapped before it was built
Will Gardiner, CEO of Drax Group said “Our focus is on renewable power. Our carbon intensity is one of the lowest of all European power generators. We aim to be carbon negative by 2030 and are continuing to make progress. We are announcing today that we will not develop new gas fired power at Drax. This builds on our decision to end commercial coal generation and the recent sale of our existing gas power stations”.
Drax’s announcement was made on the same day UK analysis firm Carbon Tracker released a detailed report into the costs of heavy reliance on gas-fired power. “Betting on new gas today means shouldering consumers with higher prices tomorrow as well as missing the net zero pathway the UK government has committed to,” they said, in their ‘Foot off the gas’
We claimed a couple of weeks ago that Morrison obviously doesn’t plan for the future, rather reacts poorly to emergent issues while trying to ‘market’ his way out of the problem. Last week we questioned the morals and ethics of a government that thought it was acceptable to award contracts that run into the billions of dollars to firms with Liberal Party connections without a competitive tender process or throw money into electorates they either needed to keep or thought they could win at the last election, rather than address demonstrated needs across the community. While none of the behaviours that we have discussed over the past couple of weeks have been acceptable, the real crime of the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government is the environmental vandalism they have perpetrated, as future generations will be adversely affected by the Coalition Government’s lack of action.
Technology and new products will assist the transition to better environmental management. To demonstrate the point, was Michaela Cash correct when she claimed that Shorten was coming after your utes when promoting an electric vehicle subsidy? In a word – no. Ford in the USA is now accepting pre-orders for an all-electric F150 truck with a potential $7,500 US Government Tax Credit! If a large American ute is what you need to carry your tools during the week and tow your boat on the weekend, you’ll survive in an all-electric vehicle world.
What do you think?
This article was originally published on The Political Sword
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