‘’The G20 summit is a major economic conference, it is
the world’s premier conference….. I certainly expect the focus will be
on economic reform, economic growth, how we drive growth and jobs. That
is my constant preoccupation. We’re not talking about what might
hypothetically happen 15, 20, 25, 30 years down the track’’
“As for Australia, I’m focusing not on what might happen in 16 years’
time, I’m focusing on what we’re doing now and we’re not talking, we’re
There is a certain melancholy, a sadness, in these two statements.
The first appeared in the Melbourne’s Herald Sun and the second in The
Melancholy because of what they reveal. If people are not already
convinced that were are being led by a Luddite of the highest order,
What would an intelligent 18-year-old about to vote for the first time
think of these statements yesterday by our PM? If I were a young person I
would not only be appalled, but alarmed.
I think the answer to that question can be determined by a close
analysis of any poll. The technologically savvy young loath Abbott with a
To say that he is not interested in the future and what might
hypothetically happen is to admit to not only a gross incompetence in
understanding the problem of global warming. But also an admittance that
he is lying and only interested in the expediency that political power
gives in the short-term. To declare that you can’t see beyond a couple
of years in forming public policy is deplorable. Boards of large
companies do it all the time. It does however match his negative
The fact is we are being led by a technology Luddite Prime Minister
who doesn’t even understand the reason for the internet or indeed its
value to society. Remember he wanted to destroy it. He has no grasp at
all on the subject of Climate Change and refuses to heed the mountains
of evidence that is peer tested year after year. Instead he offers often
contradictory glib observations about it being some sort of socialist
plot.Or we have always had droughts and always will.
But worse is the deplorable lie he tells when he says he believes in
climate change but only differs on the methodology in approaching the
problem. So unbelieving of the science is he that he is busy undoing all
research and other institutions within the framework of government.
Even the science ministry itself.
Tony Abbott is a climate denialist of long standing.
He says he takes the question of Climate Change seriously but his actions and words paint a different picture.
Before addressing action and words it’s good to remind ourselves of the words of Malcolm Turnbull.
“First, let’s get this straight. You cannot cut emissions
without a cost. To replace dirty coal-fired power stations with cleaner
gas-fired ones, or renewables like wind let alone nuclear power or even
coal-fired power with carbon capture and storage is all going to cost
“We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet”
‘’Second, as we are being blunt, the fact is that Tony and the people
who put him in his job do not want to do anything about climate change.
They do not believe in human caused global warming. As Tony observed on
one occasion “climate change is crap” or if you consider his mentor,
Senator Minchin, the world is not warming, its cooling and the climate
change issue is part of a vast left wing conspiracy to deindustrialise
His alternative is a so-called direct action policy where taxpayer’s
funds are given (repeat “are given”) to the polluters to clean up the
mess they have created without any guarantees they will do so. And no
penalty if they don’t. This method has no credence among professionals.
‘’Coal is ‘good for humanity’’ ‘’It’s a socialist plot’’
‘’human-caused climate change is “crap”. “The carbon tax is socialism masquerading as environmentalism…”
‘’The world should do something to cut greenhouse gases emissions,
but this shouldn’t be done with policies that “clobber the economy”.
‘’It doesn’t much sense, though, to impose certain and substantial
costs on the economy now in order to avoid unknown and perhaps even
benign changes in the future’’
“In Roman times, grapes were widely grown in Britain” and how “in medieval times, Greenland supported agriculture”.
“Of course these climatic changes had little or nothing to do with human activity,”
“Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has had some effect on climate, but
debate rages among scientists over its extent and relative impact”.
‘’Cold weather in Europe and North America had made “the concept of ‘global warming’ less plausible”,
“The climate has always changed”
‘’I am, as you know, hugely unconvinced by the so-called settled science on climate change’’
‘’UN official talking through her hat. Fire is a part of the Australian experience’’
‘’We should do something to cut greenhouse gases emissions, but this shouldn’t be done with policies that “clobber the economy”.
The list is endless.
Abbott’s claim to take climate change “very seriously” is at odds
with his actions. If he did why would he terminate the portfolio of
science so soon after becoming Prime Minister?
If he took Global Warming seriously why would he appoint a well-known climate denier in Maurice Newman as his business advisor?
In a column published in The Australian newspaper
he wrote that the “climate change establishment” (whatever that is) is
intent only on “exploiting the masses and extracting more money”.
Why would he appoint another denier in Dick Warburton to head a review into the country’s target to generate 20 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020.
Why would you propose axing of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency,
“saving” $1.1 billion, places about 190 renewable projects worth $7.7
billion at risk, according to the agency’s chief executive?
Why would you implement a “nonsense” Direct Action plan that has no
scientific basis, no modelling, no economic rational and no
Asked where the America China deal left Australia’s climate change
policy, the expert adviser to the former government Professor Ross
Garnaut said: “Exactly where it was before the US-China announcement – up shit creek.”
And why on earth would you invest Australia’s future in coal in the
knowledge that the world would sooner or later turn away from it. It
simply doesn’t make long-term sense.
But as the Prime Minister says. He is not interested in the future.
In any case for coal to become viable it would have to prove beyond
doubt that Carbon Capture and Storage Programmes are scientifically
viable. Hunt said on Q&A last week that they were. The CSIRO
countered by indicating that the science was far from being proven and
that the government had slashed $459 million from the program.
In short “clean coal” technology like carbon capture remains the same pipe dream it’s been for a decade or more.
To quote Crikey. ‘’Coal is finished’’
The risk level on coal investment has stepped up significantly with
the announcement of a historic climate pact between the world’s two
largest greenhouse gas emitters, the United States and China.
For a long time investors have placed their bets on the basis that,
for all the talk, the world’s leaders would do nothing about climate
change. Quite suddenly, those bets are less safe.
A quarter to a third of Australia’s coal mines are already losing
money at current prices, and only a weakening dollar is putting a floor
under the industry’s prospects. Growth in demand for Australia’s coal
exports is going to be increasingly hard to come across.
Tony Abbott’s obsession with coal is but a sad reflection on his
leadership and the damage he is doing to this great nation. To think
that I, at 74, am more interested in what the world might look like in
15 years’ time says more about me than he.
Predictably the ratbags of the Murdoch media have come out with all
power stations burning on all 8 cylinder octane but the world is
changing and science will have a well-earned victory. Whether is too
late will be something I will never know.
Next year the Abbott Government will be compelled to make a decision
to commit to more than a 5 per cent reduction (on 2000 levels) by 2020.
Until now, the Abbott government has used what it claims has been the
inaction by the world’s major polluters to justify its own unwillingness
to do so.
The much maligned Direct Action scheme – that won’t work – doesn’t
lend itself to higher targets: more ambitious targets require greater
investment. The Emissions Reduction Fund draws from the budget to pay
polluters (unlike the previous carbon price, which provided market-based
incentives for companies to undertake their own reduction projects).
But the biggest question now is what happens after 2020, and on that, neither Abbott nor Direct Action has anything to say.
The US-China agreement represents what should be a game-changer for Australian policy.
The pity is that Abbott is a Prime Minister with a Very Bad Coald