Prime Minister Scott Morrison has had a piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) entitled ‘Wrecking ball not needed to tackle climate change’ and starts off with the idiotic statement that ‘no sole political or special interest group is the cradle of compassion for our environment”1. Given that compassion is the sympathetic concern for the suffering of others it is an inappropriate use of the word in referring to something impersonal that sustains humanity. It is doubly inappropriate coming from a person who has shown no compassion for those he has kept locked up on Manus and Nauru for six years.
He laughably says that his government acknowledges and accepts the challenge of addressing climate change1. This is abject garbage; and is all pretence. Nearly half of the members in his government do not even acknowledge that climate change exists, let alone that carbon dioxide emissions from human activity are largely responsible for it2. Australia had a perfectly good method for bringing down carbon dioxide emissions in the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) which was exceptionally successful. However, that was torpedoed by the current Coalition government and replaced by the spectacularly unsuccessful ‘direct action’ Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), which has seen emissions climb dramatically since its introduction3. The CPRS decreased emissions by making the polluters pay for the privilege. That was reversed with the ERF such that now taxpayers pay the polluters to plant trees and sundry other offsets, many of which, corporations were going to have to do anyway4. It is no accident that the polluters are significant donors to the Coalition parties; the ERF is simply a way of shovelling more money to them as a method of increasing donations to the Liberal Party. So, what has Morrison done in pretending to have a climate policy? He has lied about decreasing emissions, and he has simply thrown more money at the ERF but has rebadged it under a different name5, the Climate Solutions Fund1.
Unbelievably, Morrison asserts that the Coalition parties have “a strong record of environmental vision and achievement, and his two examples are: the signing of the Antarctic Treaty by the Menzies government in 1959 (yes, that is not a typographical error; 1959; that is 60 years ago) and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) under the Howard government over a decade ago. In the latter case, the enormous fish kills in the basin demonstrate that this ‘achievement’ is probably something that Morrison should not use for the election. It is such a shemozzle that the Productivity Commission has recommended that the MDBA should be broken up.
Then, as if to mock anyone who does take climate change seriously, he asserts that we are on track to meet our 2020 emissions reduction target under the Kyoto Protocol. Nowhere does he even mention the Paris Agreement, the emissions targets from which, some time ago, he said would be reached ‘in a canter’7. This is a glaring omission and indicates that Morrison knows it is unlikely at best that we will reach that target. However, he does state that we have to reduce our emissions to 26% below our 2005 level, which was at about 522 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa)3. Currently we are running at almost 560 Mtpa3, and a level 26% below 522 Mtpa is about 386 Mtpa, a decrease of 136 Mtpa. Nowhere does Morrison mention this annual rate of emissions, because to do so would show his obfuscations to be lies.
Of course, Morrison states that Labor’s plan would be taking a wrecking ball to the economy. There already is a wrecking ball working on the economy of all nations. That wrecking ball is climate change and we will pay dearly for not taking it seriously. For those that have ignored it or lied about it, such as Morrison and his party, there will be a reckoning.