After being shamed into attending the Glasgow COP26 climate conference late last year, rather than sending a minion, Morrison realised he had to have something to take to the conference, even if it was only a fig leaf. So his ‘idea’ was to have a net zero emissions target for 2050, rather than his never-never plan of ‘preferably by 2050’. As a consequence, he had to get the National Party to agree to something. So, two weeks before the start of the conference, Morrison decided to go with barrels full of pork and a seat in cabinet, and bribe the Nationals to agree to net zero emissions by 2050. The Nationals initially could not agree, and even Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce opposed it. Despite this, they signed up to it anyway1. Given that none of the Nationals agreed with net zero emissions by 2050, it was clearly the pork and the cabinet position which swayed them.
Despite the Nationals signing up to Morrison’s ‘plan’, coal spruiker and climate change denier from the idiot end of that spectrum, Matt Canavan said that in the coming election he will campaign against the 2050 goal2.
Now, in the middle of the election campaign, the National Party candidate for the Queensland seat of Flynn, Colin Boyce, said “Zero net carbon emissions by 2050, Morrison’s document, is a flexible plan that leaves us wiggle room as we proceed into the future.” He also noted that Morrison’s statement at Glasgow was “not binding, there will be no legislation attached to it”3. Indeed.
Morrison, desperate to try to paper over such cracks in what he considers a policy, presumably bludgeoned Boyce into ‘clarifying’ his position to say that he was talking about the pathway to net zero, not the target itself4. Yeah, right.
Canavan has now thrown another spanner in the Morrison campaign machinery by saying that the concept of net zero emissions by 2050 is “all over bar the shouting” and that the “net zero thing is all sort of dead anyway”. Not only this, but just before Morrison’s announcement of a $70million dollar barrel of pork for a Townsville ‘hydrogen hub’, Canavan opined that “we don’t need hydrogen”, and called for the government to throw more money at the Collinsville coal-fired power station4.
How do you explain a prime minister who says he accepts the science of climate change, says he acknowledges the link between climate change and the devastating bushfires, sees the suffering and losses, and then chooses to do nothing about it, but simply lies and says he is doing something. The most commonly cited causes for Morrison’s inaction are the influence of the climate change deniers within Coalition ranks but on whose votes he depends in the House of Representatives; and the financial dependence of the Coalition on donations from the fossil fuel lobby5. There is perhaps another one which will be the subject of another article.
Morrison’s only concern in going to Glasgow, which he now strangely pronounces such that it rhymes with ‘cow’, was how he would look. He was only concerned with having the appearance of taking climate change seriously. Bringing a lump of coal into parliament6 shows he doesn’t, and now assorted Nationals are spilling the beans.