The Coalition parties have been in government for over 8 years and in that time have carefully avoided having any plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, the price on carbon, introduced by the Gillard government and very effective at reducing emissions, was repealed by the Coalition. This is mostly because of halfwits like Tony Abbott, Craig Kelly, George Christensen, Keith Pitt, Matt Canavan, James Paterson, Tim Wilson, Barnaby Joyce, Scott Morrison1, and numerous others. Despite thousands of scientific papers detailing many millions of data points over the last 40 years, almost all of which demonstrate the planet is in deep trouble2, these idiots still deny that climate change is actually happening.
Why do they deny climate change? Because many in business, especially in the fossil fuel industry, told them to do so, and to make sure their denialism continued, those in business made large donations to the Coalition parties. In this denial, they have been aided and abetted by the Murdoch media, who have constantly railed against reality3.
Sometime earlier in this year or last, Morrison realised that the Glasgow Climate Conference (COP 26) was actually happening this year (October 31-November 12)4. To avoid the opprobrium which would be heaped on him from other attendees, he initially said that he would not be attending5, and that a random minister would have to attend in his place. This was, he said, because he would have to spend another two weeks in quarantine. However, after amazement from assorted political figures and even some of the royals, he was shamed into announcing he would attend the conference6.
It was then that he realised he had to have something, anything, to take to the conference, even if it was only a very large fig leaf. So his ‘idea’ was to have a net zero emissions target for 2050, rather than his ‘preferably by 2050’ plan on the never-never, which had previously allowed the coal lovers in the coalition to continue as they had done. As a consequence of the approach of his COP26 trip, he had to get the National Party to agree to something. So, despite being in government for 8 years, two weeks before the start of the conference, Morrison decided to go cap in hand, with barrels full of pork, and plead with the Nationals to agree to net zero emissions by 2050. The Nationals could not agree, and even Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister opposed it. Despite this, they signed up to it anyway7.
In addition to the pork, part of the deal was to get another seat in cabinet, and the climate change denier and Resources Minister Keith Pitt was elevated to that position8. Despite the Nationals signing up to Morrison’s ‘plan’, Matt Canavan, coal spruiker (his brother owns a coal mine) and climate change denier from the idiot end of that spectrum, has said that in the coming election he will campaign against the 2050 goal9. This is despite every state and territory in the Commonwealth having signed up to net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier10.
Morrison has released the government’s ‘plan’ to reach net zero emissions by 2050, and announced the country is on track to beat its minuscule 26% 2030 target, as he prepares to fly to COP26. Morrison wanted to increase the 2030 target but the deniers in the National Party would not permit him. What Morrison had to give to the Nationals, apart from another cabinet chair, is a secret, as is the modelling that underpins the ‘plan’ is also secret. Morrison said the modelling will be released “eventually”, before the next budget (which is after the next election). This is to make sure nobody can analyse it before the election11.
In announcing the ‘plan’, Morrison said the word ‘plan’ over 80 times during the press conference12. This indicates that it is nothing approaching a plan. Almost everyone knows that if Morrison says something over and over again, you know it is simply spin. The number of times he repeats something is inversely proportional to the amount of its content which should be taken seriously.
In the plan, there is nothing new, despite this being in the works for years. Indeed, the document containing the plan has a copyright date of 2020. So, we now have a ‘plan’ which has upped the zero target from ‘preferably by 2050’ to definitely by 2050. Emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor says the ‘plan’ is guided by five principles: “technology, not taxes” (which ignores that technology is paid for with tax revenue); “choices not mandates” (no one will be forced to act); “technologies’ cost will decrease”; “affordable and reliable power”; “the government will be accountable for progress”. Anyone who believes this last one clearly hasn’t been in Australia over the last 8 years to notice how the government shirks responsibility and accountability. The government has maintained that it has “runs on the board” stating numerous times that emissions have fallen 20% since 2005. However, if you remove the impact of Covid-19, emissions have dropped only about 3% since the coalition was elected in 2013, with nearly all the cuts coming when Labor was in power, and those mostly due to changes in state land-clearing laws13.
This ‘plan’ is just another government con job; just another announcement from the Prime Minister for announcements; kicking the can down the road to let someone else deal with it, as all these coalition politicians will be long gone by 2050. Those who will have to deal with it, are of the generation represented by the children of these Coalition politicians. Currently, global temperatures have risen by 1.1 degrees C and everyone has seen the unprecedented climatic events due to that rise. The current pledges by 191 countries would see emissions rise to 16% higher in 2030 than they were in 2010 and that would eventually cause the world to warm by 2.7 degrees C14. That will be catastrophic; for each half degree increase in temperature the effects will likely double15.
It makes you wonder why coalition politicians think so little of their children and their children’s children, that they would rather accept donations from the fossil fuel industry than secure their descendants’ futures.