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The world knows Scott Morrison is a liar. Now Australians need to wake up

Australia isn’t known as the Colossal Fossil for no reason – we win the award on a regular basis due to our determined efforts to stymie any global action on climate change.

If we go back to the beginning of this journey, unlike other countries, we negotiated Kyoto Protocol concessions that allowed Australia to increaseemissions and count reductions due to stopping land clearing, and then refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol for 13 years.

Despite increasing international awareness of the danger we are facing, between 2000 and 2007, our GHG emissions increased by 16.3%.

When we finally got rid of the “lying rodent”, the ensuing seven years until the repeal of the carbon price in 2014 saw a decline in emissions of 15%.

We were hailed as world leaders for introducing carbon pricing and policies to promote the transition to a carbon neutral economy.

Then along came the Mad Monk.

UN Climate Change Conference, Warsaw, November 2013

This year’s Colossal Fossil goes to Australia. The new Australian Government has won its first major international award – the Colossal Fossil. The delegation came here with legislation in its back pocket to repeal the carbon price, failed to take independent advice to increase its carbon pollution reduction target and has been blocking progress in the loss and damage negotiations. Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi!

UN Climate Change Conference, Lima, December 2014

As Lima talks splutter to an end, Australia has gathered 5 Fossil of the Day Awards and been dishonoured with the Colossal Fossil of the year award, just as it was in Warsaw in 2013. Way to go Australia!

In the annual update to the Climate Change Performance Index released at Lima, Australia slipped to 60th in a list of 61 countries. Our ranking on the policy component of the index dropped a startling 21 places since the previous edition released in 2013.

The five years from 2014 to 2019 saw us decrease our emissions by a paltry 1.6%.

We did a little better in 2020. It only took a crippling drought, a global pandemic closing down the economy and international travel, and ignoring the emissions from the catastrophic bushfires. Even so, Australia’s annual emissions for the year to June 2020 were only 5.7% below emissions in the year to June 2000. Very little improvement to show for 20 years.

In December last year, the Climate Action Network did a five-year review of the Paris Agreement and we, once again, earned dishonourable mention.

Australia: Fossil for Not Honoring the 1.5°C Commitment

Before Scott Morrison became Australian Prime Minister, he once brandished a lump of coal in parliament. That was in 2017, when he accused his opponents of having a “pathological fear of coal”. A few short years later, the only pathological behaviour remains his government’s ongoing infatuation with fossil fuels when the rest of the world has moved on. As the largest exporter of coal and gas, Australia’s federal government has done virtually nothing over the past five years to tackle the climate emergency. The government’s woefully inadequate 2030 Paris Agreement target is in line with a catastrophic 3°C rise. And it has tried to cheat by using carryover credits from the Kyoto Protocol to meet around half of it. The Australian government has refused to set a national long term target (net zero by 2050) despite every State and Territory of Australia having now set a long term net zero climate target. Australia’s current emission reduction trend will reach net-zero in 300 years! And to top it all, Australia has withdrawn funding entirely from the Green Climate Fund.

The world watched swathes of Australia’s bush burn last summer contributing to significant biodiversity loss and impacting the most vulnerable people. Besides stinking up the planet, Australia appears to be reneging on a commitment to net zero emissions made to Pacific Island Neighbours in October 2019. How does Australia face its Pacific Island neighbours, many of whom will be displaced in the next two-to-three decades unless we scale up efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C? Australia must get sensible fast otherwise the Morrison government is staring at a dark legacy of climate inaction. Will future generations have to view plastic replicas of the Great Barrier Reef in a museum of climate horrors alongside stuffed mounts of the critically endangered Mountain Pygmy Possum?

In the context of all this, we have a government refusing to stop fossil fuel subsidies, insisting on a gas-led recovery, subsidising oil production, and persistently toying with the idea of building new coal-fired power stations. They are pinning their hopes on carbon capture and storage in order to prolong fossil fuel burning despite its lack of success and commercial unviability. They won’t even do anything to promote or facilitate the uptake of electric vehicles.

And the excuse for this inaction? We won’t commit to any target until we know how we will get there and how much it will cost.

Seriously.

If anyone can tell me what technology will be available in 2050 and how much anything will cost in 30 years’ time, I’d be interested to hear it.

We listen to health experts about the pandemic. It’s similarly crucial that we listen to the warnings and advice from experts about the health of the planet.

And Scotty – Matt Canavan, Keith Pitt, George Christensen, Craig Kelly and Jim Molan do not qualify as experts.

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27 comments

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  1. Michael Taylor

    When Carol and I were overseas we would often get this response (or similar) from the locals when learning we were Australians:

    “You guys used to lead the world on climate action. What happened?”

    That, along with the way our government treats refugees (we got that one a 100% of the time), left us feeling a little embarrassed about declaring our nationality.

  2. Kaye Lee

    They never understood why we dumped Julia Gillard when we were doing so well. Me either. It still hurts.

  3. Vikingduk

    Depends on your definition of the word expert. My favourite is: x is the unknown and spurt is a drip under pressure. Though these walking, talking hemoroids seem to be far past the spurt stage and have become batshit crazy, ego tripping, mentally deficient, bloated wankers of the trump school of ethics, honesty and delusion.
    All aided and abetted by the sanctimonious liar from the shire, our very own smirking jerk, scotty the putrid. None of which helps in the quest for a liveable planet. All the protests will not change the maliciously evil minds of politicians anywhere unfortunately. We continue to poke the beast known as global warming/climate change/nature and wonder why we are now increasingly getting whacked by this beast of our own making.

    Never in the earth’s history, the millions of years, has C02 risen so quickly, so dramatically, all on us, well fucking done us. Feedback loops seem to be rising in the Arctic, less sea ice, glaciers being undercut by warmer waters, dirt plumes observed near retreating glaciers, more dark ocean waters revealed, more heat absorbed by oceans means less sea ice, means rapidly disappearing glaciers.

    If we were to stop right now, give this global emergency the attention required we will still experience the environmental catastrophe now rapidly unfolding. If plan a is to hope braindead, arsewipe politicians act to confront this disaster now, then I think all is lost. Do we have a plan b?

  4. Kaye Lee

    Remember when ProMo’s catchcry was “How good is (whatever)”. That’s how he began his election campaign. How good is Mum. How good is Jenny.

    Yup, I’m sure all’s well in the trough..,,,

  5. Brad Black

    Hopefully, the ALP will follow Biden’s lead and frame the climate discussion around the cost of inaction versus the cost of embracing the energy revolution, with the added benefits of jobs and cleaner/healthier environment. Chris Bowen’s new role seems to indicate just that.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Morrison was firmly put in his place by his exclusion from a speaking role at the last meeting. it will be interesting to see what happens in April.

    Labor must be prepared for this. I like Mark Butler. I understand using Chris Bowen. Let’s hope he does his homework and brings truth to the table. Early indications have been good with him saying we must help coal-mining communities face the inevitable transition.

    Meanwhile, Keith Pitt is in parliament telling everyone that there are, and will be, more jobs in coal-mining and Matt Canavan is leading the Nationals push for more coal-fired power stations.

  7. Michael Taylor

    Just my hunch, Kaye, but I don’t think it’s about jobs. The LNP have too many mining mates.

  8. Henry Rodrigues

    The only ,and one sure way for Australia to get aligned with the rest of the world on this most immediate threat to the very existence of life on earth, is for the dopey, self seeking, I’m Alright Jack voters, to wake up up, look around and get rid of this corrupt bunch of arseholes indebt to the fossil fuel industry, protected by the arch enemy and climate change denier, Murdoch and his bloody minions.

  9. Michael Taylor

    Henry, we need 10 million more Australians to think like you.

  10. totaram

    MT: I agree completely, although I suspect just 2 million in the right places would do the trick.
    The question as always is: how do we get this result?

  11. RomeoCharlie29

    The independent US News feed, ConsortiumNews has an interesting story today about legal action against fossil fuel companies over their knowledge of, and inaction over, climate change. The story included a couple of nuggets including that Exxon supports a carbon price. I found it depressing that a major polluter supports a reduction mechanism we had, until the mad monk and his merry band of climate change deniers repealed it.

  12. guest

    I do not understand why Morrison’s non-plan is not ripped to bits by the journalists who report his nonsense. Morrison does not know what he is going to do or when he will achieve anything or what it will cost. If he is to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050, what does that mean for coal and gas. He does not say, does he?

    He speaks about “technology”, but which technology is he talking about and how does his “energy roadmap” actually work without falling over a cliff? There is also some vague energy from the future which will solve everything without having to do anything. It is all a sales pitch with no action, like most other Morrison announcements.

    It is the kind of fantasy that we have seen with every other Coalition government going way back. What happened to the Green Army, for example? How much money has been given over to people who are supposed to be working on saving the Great Barrier Reef, for example. Or what happened to the flood water which disappeared but earned someone $80m?

    Now there is talk of getting carbon credits for putting carbon into the soil as if it is a new kind of technology, but has been part of permaculture practice for ages and especially promoted by the regenerative agriculture movement.

    Meanwhile, coal and fossil fuels are in rapid decline. Jobs in those industries are in decline. Even Joel Fitzgibbon knows that but wishes it was not true. We have people lying through their teeth and playing the population for suckers, and coming out with all kinds of weird statements in defiance of expert advice. Basic facts of anthropogenic global warming have been known for at least 40 years if not more.

    The visible signs are all around us. And which country has a government which stalls at every turn while a large percentage of the population wants more real action on climate change and there are people, companies, scientists, all kinds of people are getting on with the business of mitigating carbon missions.

    Remember when there were politicians deriding wind turbines, claiming they were ugly and causing medical problems. Now we are supposed to think the Coalition invented them. I do not know why the many, many sites where the misinformation put about by deniers of expert scientific advice is not being made even more prominent – and loudly. We hear deniers claiming they climate “activists” are too “alarmist” too “catastrophic”, too “apocalyptic”. They want us to treat them gently, with understanding, as if their denial is not their fault.

    When I see people in high political positions picking up some contrary thought about climate change or the pandemic and running with it even against the Prime Minister, then I wonder how long we let them get away with it as if they are just an aberration, rather than a real and present danger.

    My increasing fear is that the longer we keep procrastinating, the more the cost of mitigation increases and sooner it all becomes too hard, beyond adaptation and endurance.

  13. Kaye Lee

    The Coalition hold 77 seats out of 151 in the HoR. If they lose 2 seats, they won’t have a majority.

    There is so much dead wood, I don’t know where to start, but Lucy Wicks in my electorate of Robertson would be a good place. We only need 4100 people to decide that having her photo taken having cups of tea with people and sending out endless junk mail does not equate to active representation.

    Craig Kelly will go but the Libs will probably do that themselves by preselecting a better candidate.

    Kevin Andrews is gone, thank God. But that will stay Libs too.

    Labor has identified 18 seats they feel are vulnerable (I think). They don’t need many people to reject the crap Morrison spins to change government. Hell, the Nationals are really working for us. They are mad as cut snakes.

  14. Michael Taylor

    Or we could educate enough people in Queensland about the concept of ‘opportunity cost’. Namely, if we save, at a guess, 5,000 mining jobs how many jobs are lost in the renewable energy industries? Has it cost 6,000 jobs?

    So many people are worried about the 5,000 jobs that they lose sight of how many future jobs in other industries are destroyed.

  15. guest

    I hope you are right, Kaye. There is every reason for the electorate to wake up. But I want the Coalition to be debunked at every turn, especially with regard to climate change because there will be some who believe that Morrison has redeemed himself with his latest announcement.

    I just remember how the “miracle” occurred at the last election. It was so easy, after weeks and weeks of Labor leading in the polls.

  16. Henry Rodrigues

    Michael Taylor….. the key is Qld and that’s where Labor should focus it attention and its attack. Labor holds as far as I can recall, just 2 seats. Surely there is much opportunity there, or is it that the Joel Fitzgibbon syndrome is dominant and Matt piggy eyes Cannavan is just going to coast through.

  17. Lawrence Roberts

    Chris Bowen, opposition spokesperson for the environment was on Radio National this evening saying that; world market forces would determine the timetable for the cessation of the coal mining industry. This is a cop-out worthy of Morrison and is going to lose Labor inner city electorates.

  18. Andrew Smith

    While Australia’s governments have lamely followed the worst of US fossil fuel influences, with much nudging locally by IPA, NewsCorp, fossil fuel grifters etc. in denying and dismissing global warming or climate science, then delaying or promising future initiatives, there is hope.

    Hope is not from our elected national governments but private initiatives, including public companies, global investors, state/local government, simply following other nations and one expects, pressure form the Biden administration.

    The latter is important as our ‘elites’ seem obsessed with looking up to or serving the US and/or UK (for future personal benefits and/or pat on the head), now both nations’ governments are focusing upon restricting emissions etc., seriously.

    As an aside, apparently polling in Oz shows strong support for climate initiatives, but that changes to the negative if there is an associated cost or charge….. am also acquainted with a politically aware person of right wing and/or conservative persuasion (from Melbourne living abroad) who cannot believe (when he returns) how materialistic Australians have become and how important related indicators are for their sense of self worth or ‘economic value’.

    The latter is expressed constantly by their employment (role) status (suggesting income), house price, super then accumulated toys and lifestyle stuff; an economic libertarian outcome over society or community?

    Backgrounded by the sterotype many have of Australians being ‘shallow, conservative and racist’ (Germans) but worse, the difficulty in having a substantive conversation with many Australians who simply replicate communication styles learnt from media and politicians; glib, infantile and sometimes humourous but dismissive one liners (like quiz show contestants) to shut conversations down and avoid anything related to analysis vs. citing tabloidish headlines……

  19. wam

    :They never understood why we dumped Julia Gillard when we were doing so well. Me either. It still hurts” (Her demise for the lemon was a tragedy of the proportion to the dismissal nearly 40 years before.) But have you forgotten she was a woman doing a man’s job better than the men? Forgotten that one of the men was white-anting at every turn? Forgotten the tag ‘juliar’ and the blackmailer’s part, kaye? Forgotten the rabbott savaging the woman 24/7 Forgotten the elation of her powerful speech followed by labor silence Forgotten shit happens, shirtfront, virginity and heaps of others including the worst his Bernie Banton insults. Followed by labor’s silence. It is not hard to understand why the swingers are easily scared by the lnp. I loved your “If they lose 2 seats, they won’t have a majority.” two seats like nth qld and two in tassie, they won’t have a government? ps Michael when the caravan got to townsville adani was predicting 10000 jobs on top of the thousands already in the coal industry. Powerful numbersinvoking fear ergo easy switch vote???

  20. Zathras

    The ALP snookered itself by betraying it’s values over refugee policy in order to grab votes and now threatens to do the same thing with climate. Trying to shadow the government may work for some items but eventually voters see either little difference or hypocrisy.

    The only thing that would make a real difference is if trading partners put a levy on our exports in response to local inaction.

  21. Terence Mills

    Michael

    In my neck of the woods in North Queensland I still maintain that the coalition campaign on Labor’s Death Duties swayed many in the community and those in or approaching retirement represent a solid voting block up here.

    PS : looking out of my office window, we have a large blue Quandong tree (Elaeocarpus angustifolius) currently flowering and a magnet for Lorikeets both Rainbow and Scaly Breasted – in an hour or so when the sun gets up the tree will be humming away under honey-bee attention : during the night the tree was alive with flying foxes squabbling over the blossoms – what a wonderful thing is nature.

  22. Charles

    More Aussies will wake up when the press starts honest reporting. UnFake News Flash – it ain’t going to happen.
    You are on your own, overseen by a corrupt government. And there is no real difference between Labor and LNP.
    You can learn to survive their system, freedom is possible, just not the kind you envisage.

  23. Kaye Lee

    Charles,

    Action on climate change is largely being taken out of the hands of governments as banks, insurers, investment groups, superannuation funds, and businesses move to protect themselves. Natural disasters/extreme weather events interrupt production, supply chains, and distribution and impact property and infrastructure. As Labor is beginning to point out, it’s a matter of economics. Doing nothing is not an option. Pretending to do something is not an option. Lying about what you are doing is being exposed.

    Conservatives will not lead on this. They will be dragged kicking and screaming to the realisation that inaction on climate change costs a shitload more than taking action. Oh and there is that survival thing too.

  24. Charles

    Kaye, true. But if Labor was in the hot seat do you think they’d stand up against the lobby groups and think tanks running the show? Labor is populist and for that reason are useful idiots in the big picture, at times, for the elite. I can see where this is likely going for us all, a net zero emissions world is on the cards. I am still getting my head around what Aus will look like and how it will operate without access to petroleum products. I have a bicycle.

  25. Kaye Lee

    Electric vehicles. Public transport. High speed rail. Biofuels.

    I cannot ride a bike and I live too far from anything to make it a viable option. (Plus I am really scared of them – too many people have huge stacks, including me as a child – just lost skin but it hurt a lot).

  26. Michael Taylor

    From what I remember, riding a bike was easy. It was the stopping that I had trouble with.

    But on a serious note …

    I take my hat off to my local council. The number of parks, walking trails and bike trails in my area shows foresight. Plus it’s hard to find a street that isn’t lined with trees.

  27. Kaye Lee

    Michael,

    If we facilitated decentralisation then more people could enjoy such things. It’s one reason I liked the high speed rail option so much but I think that opportunity may have been lost.

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