Guest essay by Eric Worrall
More greens celebrating the punishment Biden will allegedly inflict on Australia; According to The Conversation, if Biden wins Australia will be punished for Australia’s climate complacency
Biden says the US will rejoin the Paris climate agreement in 77 days. Then Australia will really feel the heat
November 6, 2020 1.30pm AEDT
When the US formally left the Paris climate agreement, Joe Biden tweeted that “in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it”.
Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it. https://t.co/L8UJimS6v2— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 5, 2020
While diplomacy via Twitter looks here to stay, global climate politics is about to be upended — and the impacts will be felt at home in Australia if Biden delivers on his plans.
What does this mean for Australia?
For the last four years, the Trump administration has been a boon for successive Australian governments as they have torn up climate policies and failed to implement new ones.
Should the US start hitting Australian goods with a carbon fee at the border, you can bet Australian business won’t be happy, and Morrison may begin to re-think his domestic climate calculus.
With Biden now in the White House, it’s not just global climate politics that will be turned on its head. Australia’s failure to implement a serious domestic climate and energy policy could have profound costs.
Costs, mind you, that are easily avoidable if Australia acts on climate change, and does so now.
The Australian news media was solidly pro-Biden, just like the MSM in the USA. Many Australians would celebrate the demise of the Aussie coal industry. Australia’s chief scientist thinks Aussies should ditch coal, and go all in building infrastructure for a green hydrogen export market which does not exist.
If Australia’s coal industry was eliminated as part of a new hardline Aussie climate policy, or hammered into unprofitability by Biden imposed international carbon diplomacy, and if the export revenue from expensive green hydrogen for which there is currently no market somehow mysteriously failed to replace the lost export revenue from coal, Australia’s international purchasing power could plummet.
Coal earned Australia just under $70 billion in export revenue in 2019, around $2800 for each Australian. In 2019 Australia had a global trade surplus of around $50 billion. Australia’s international purchasing power surplus sits on a knife edge.
I don’t think most Australians appreciate what this means in terms of their own personal quality of life.
Australia has other valuable exports, so if coal was eliminated Australia’s international purchasing power would eventually stabilise – but at a significantly lower level than today.
All those imported toys like iPads and Tesla cars which Australia’s urban green elitists so love to own would suddenly get a whole lot more expensive. Along with the imported coffee they drink.