Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to the Washington Post, Biden plans to impose trade tariffs on Australia unless Australia embraces a net zero carbon plan and curbs Australia’s CO2 intensive energy export industry.
Biden’s plan to combat climate change leaves coal-loving Australia an outlier
By A. Odysseus PatrickNovember 17, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. GMT+10
SYDNEY — Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election was largely welcomed by America’s friends as a step toward more predictable and conventional U.S. foreign policy. One close American ally, though, faces a thorny predicament as a result of Biden’s plan to build a global coalition to combat global warming: Australia.
Australia is the world’s second-largest coal exporter and top liquefied natural gas exporter, according to industry bodies, and one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases per person. This status, combined with years of hand-wringing on both sides of Australian politics over climate policies, has earned the country a reputation as a climate-change laggard.
“Australia has nowhere to hide,” former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd said in an interview. “It’s time for Morrison to swallow his pride, admit he was wrong and embrace a carbon target.”
“Our policies won’t be set in the United Kingdom; they won’t be set in Brussels; they won’t be set in any part of the world other than here,” Morrison said last week.
Once a Biden administration takes office, one of the main economic threats to Australia is whether the United States goes ahead with a plan to impose tariffs on big emitters of carbon dioxide.
…Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/australia-climate-fires-biden-murdoch/2020/11/17/25516342-2306-11eb-9c4a-0dc6242c4814_story.html
A lot of Australian mainstream media outlets and celebrities backed Biden to win against Trump.
If Biden imposes climate sanctions, or if Australia shuts down energy exports to placate a new US administration, everyone in Australia would feel the impact; curbing Australian exports would likely turn Australia’s mild trade surplus into a trade deficit, ending the economic free run Australians have enjoyed for the last two decades, by putting upward pressure on interest rates and the prices of imported goods.
Biden sanctions could force Australia to choose between reconciliation with China and economic ruin. Australia’s support for US efforts to curb China’s aggressive expansionism has triggered a costly trade war with China. Australia is in no position to fight a trade war with both the USA and China at the same time.
Update (EW): “If you make China the Enemy, China will be the enemy” – a leaked document has just provided the latest example of just how toxic Australia’s relationship with China is becoming, thanks to Australia’s support for the USA. But China has left the door open – providing Australia adopts a more China friendly attitude.