Sabra Lane interviewed Environment Minister, Melissa Price on ABC Radio on Tuesday October 9, at 8:07am1.
Price started off by speaking about the IPCC report looking at possible pathways to meet the Paris targets of “one point five percent” rather than “two percent”. Getting the units wrong (it is degrees, not percentages) did not augur well for the remainder of the interview. That augury proved to be accurate.
Sabra Lane asked Price: “How reliable do you think this report is?” After waffling on about how they will consider the report, she then said that “back in 2017 we had a review of our climate change policies, and they were found to be adequate in terms of us meeting our 2020 target for Kyoto. We know we are going to meet that target and we’re very comfortable we’re going to meet the 2030 target”1. This is absolute garbage. There is little chance we will meet our 2030 targets without drastic action, and given the inability of the government to even get the insipid NEG2 up and running, it is unlikely that any serious plan to reduce emissions could be made. If you look at the graph below, which has been derived from data from the Department of Environment and Energy by Greg Jericho (Guardian Australia), you will see that while the ‘carbon tax’ was in place, Australia’s emissions were dropping significantly, and as soon as the carbon tax was repealed by the Abbott hilarity, emissions started to climb again. To satisfy our Paris Agreement target, by 2030, we will need emissions to be at 427 Million tonnes of carbon dioxide3. That is 63 million tonnes less than the number at the bottom of the graph. And as you can see we are heading very much in the wrong direction.
Sabra Lane then asked “How will Australia make the Paris commitment to reduce carbon emissions between 26-28% by 2030? Exactly what mechanism will be used to achieve that?” Price then obfuscated by stating: “Well, we’re already on target to do that, but it – you know, you ask me what we are doing? Well, there’s not one silver bullet” Lane interrupted and said “… the question was what policy mechanism is in place to achieve that?” Price obfuscated some more: “Okay, I’m about to run through that Sabra, if you just give me a second, I’m about to tell you. That’s exactly what I’m about to do. We do have the emissions reduction fund and that it cuts across a number of industries4. We started with a 2.5 billion dollar fund; we’re now down to 250 million dollars. And clearly, we need to have a look at that to see whether that can get greater co-benefits across the land sector, in particular. We have the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which is investing in clean technology. We’ve also got Arena, which also invests in [a] similar sort of technology. You know, we ourselves are investing in Snowy Two. Only a couple of weeks ago, we announced our new forestry plan, which is a plan to build [sic] one billion trees and create some 18,000 jobs”. And then unsurprisingly, she finished off with: “Now, not one of those particular policies is going to be the silver bullet – and you know, I don’t think if you ask Bill Shorten what his plan is… I mean, we know what their plan is”. If the past is anything to go by, it may well be one that works.
Given that the Muppet government seems unable to have any sort of policy at all to deal with climate change, it is exceedingly unlikely they will be able to find one. Even the useless NEG2 was too aggressive for the climate change deniers in the Liberal Party.
Lane then stated: “The government has said the renewable energy target will not be extended beyond 2020. As you point out, the emissions reduction fund is almost out of money. There’s no emissions reduction plan for the energy sector, and for the third year running, Australia’s emissions are rising, not falling”. In response to this, Price agreed that emissions have risen, but she then slipped into the same lie told by Morrison, that emissions per capita were at their lowest level in 28 years and that emissions per capita in the year to March 2018 had fallen 36% since 1990. This ‘per capita’ lie is a way of hiding the truth that Australia’s emissions have been climbing ever since the repeal of the ‘carbon tax’.
Lane responded with the statement: “Credible scientists say that we are not on track”. Price replied with: “Well, that could be their opinion but I’m telling you that I’m very comfortable with the policies we’ve got. But, of course, we’re going to look at this report, we’re going to look at what policies we’ve got”.
Lane quoted from the IPCC report saying that “coal-fired electricity must end by 2050 if the world is to limit warming to one and a half degrees. Given that, how likely is it that a new coal fired plant will be built in Australia?” Price just rabbited on about the private sector “looking at whether they are going to do a coal fired power station”, and then obfuscated with another instance of Morrison drivel about bringing electricity prices down. To cap this off, Price then said “to say it’s got to be phased out by 2050 is drawing a very long bow”. Lane interrupted and said “These are 91 scientists whose work is peer reviewed. This is a report that Australia has approved of”. All Price could come back with, was essentially ‘fingers crossed’ that technology would make for “good, clean” coal1.
This monumentally incompetent interview by Price demonstrates that the government is incapable of doing anything sensible as our planet overheats. On top of that, it has no understanding of the dire need for action and not even any semblance of a policy of any consequence. In lieu of a policy, all they do is obfuscate and lie. It is all they are able to do. They have nothing else. They are a government in name only.