In response to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement of a ‘climate policy’1, many people seem to have resorted, inappropriately, to the old aphorism that ‘the definition of stupidity (or insanity) is to do the same thing again and expect different results’. This is because Morrison has largely rebadged the ‘direct action’ policy referred to as the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) introduced under the Prime Ministership of Tony Abbott (the ‘Abbott hilarity’) to replace the ‘carbon tax’ (the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme; CPRS). The reason people have used this aphorism is because the ERF was spectacularly unsuccessful in decreasing emissions of carbon dioxide. Its predecessor, the CPRS, had led to a decrease in emissions from 543 million tonnes (Mt) in 2012 to 530 Mt in 2014 when it was repealed. Since then, emissions have risen to 559 Mt in 20182 while the ‘direct action’ ERF was in operation. Our Paris Agreement emissions target are of a decrease to 427 Mt by 20303. If the CPRS had still been in operation today, it is possible that target may have been reached. However, under Morrison’s rebadged ERF that is now extremely unlikely.
The reason the aphorism referred to above is inappropriate, is because Morrison’s ‘climate policy’ has nothing to do with carbon dioxide emissions, and he knows it. Indeed, the whole Liberal Party knows it. It serves two purposes, and they are: firstly, to dupe the gullible into believing the government actually has a climate policy; and secondly, to continue shovelling taxpayer funds to corporations such that a proportion of those taxpayer funds return to the Liberal Party as donations (i.e. money laundering). This technique of pretending to have a climate policy has actually worked before; back in 2013, when Abbott sabotaged any real hope Australia had of decreasing its emissions to meet the Paris targets. The gullible were duped then, and corporations began to benefit from government largesse then, as well4. This scam was enough to get the Coalition elected to government in 2013, and Morrison holds out a faint hope it will again.