Guest essay by Eric Worrall
I don’t know if the timing of the Aussie government announcement was a deliberate snub aimed at international climate efforts, but it sure made me laugh.
The Coalition doesn’t want to focus on climate change – but Australia will be forced to
Sun 23 May 2021 06.00 AEST
Announcing a new gas-fired power plant when a report urges the world to reduce emissions is in keeping with the climate policy farce
This week we took another spin on the deranged carousel that is Australian climate change policy as the government announced it will fund a gas-fired power station at the very moment an international report detailed the need to do the exact opposite.
I wish this was a new development, but it just felt like a repeat of late 2018, when less than a year before the federal election, the IPCC released a report stating that if nations acted together we could limit the increase in global temperatures to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
We had to get to net zero emissions by 2050 and achieve a global 45% cut in emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 if we started straight away.
Australia, led then as now by those who profess not to be climate change deniers but who are able to pull off the most astonishing imitation, set about undermining attempts to limit emissions.
It noted, for example, that by 2030 60% of new car sales should be electric, with no internal combustion cars being sold after 2035.
So it was oddly in keeping with the climate change policy farce that is the Coalition that it chose the same day the report was released to announce it was going to spend $600m on a gas fired power-plant in the Hunter region.
…Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/business/commentisfree/2021/may/22/the-coalition-doesnt-want-to-focus-on-climate-change-but-australia-will-be-forced-to
Australians feel about the same way as anyone else does, when someone tells us we will be “forced” to do something by outside powers, even if that outside power is an important ally. So I don’t share Guardian author Greg Jericho’s confidence that Australia will accept being “forced” to take the knee to Biden’s climate push.
As for the new gas plant, this is a perfect demonstration of why I don’t believe greens will win. Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants to keep his job. The ruling Australian coalition government desperately needs to consolidate support in Hunter Valley region to retain power. Hunter Valley is an agricultural and mining district.
Faced with a hard choice between a perfectly timed public snub of Biden’s international climate push, or winning a key by-election, Prime Minister Scott Morrison chose to snub President Biden.
The gas plant announcement appears to have delivered the desired political boost. Hunter Valley had a by-election this weekend, and it very much looks like the National Party candidate will win. The Nationals are the long standing right wing coalition partners of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberals. The vote for Labor, which embraces radical green policies, appears to have collapsed.
Ultimately politicians care more about saving their own skins than climate virtue signalling, and always have. Self interest prevails. So long as radical greens back economically painful remedies to their imaginary climate crisis, this conflict between expediency and virtue signalling will continue to be a hard limit on their ambitions.