After Scott Morrison’s decade late realisation that appearing to do something on greenhouse gas emissions may be electorally useful, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg gave a speech pushing the case to finalise a plan1. After 8 years in government, over forty years of warnings, and over thirty years of IPCC reports2considering finalising a plan is as far as the government have managed to get. However, internal divisions within the government may prevent Morrison from even getting near a legislated target such as net zero emissions by 2050.
The problem is typified by Victorian Nationals cabinet minister Bridget McKenzie who took a swipe at her Liberal colleagues, particularly Frydenberg, labelling their support for a carbon neutral economy by 2050 the “worst kind of vacuousness over values”. She maintained that too many federal MPs were worried about being “cool” rather than “the consequences of their decisions”3. Her phrasing is ironic insofar as keeping the planet cool was perhaps achievable thirty years ago, but is now very unlikely to be possible. The Paris Accord of 2015 had as its goal to limit warming to well below 2 degrees C, preferably to 1.5 degrees C, when compared to pre-industrial levels4. Keeping it below 1.5 degrees seems like a forlorn hope now, with a recent study showing that existing greenhouse gases (i.e. at the current concentration) will eventually push the globe into more than 2 degrees of warming5.
McKenzie’s complaint about the ‘consequences of their decisions’ is equally ironic in that the consequences of her government’s decisions to not do anything about greenhouse gas emissions have helped condemn our younger generation to a much more dangerous planet. With a 2-degree temperature increase, some islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans may become uninhabitable, weather-related disasters will become more frequent, outdoor workers in many parts of the world will face dangerously hot conditions and large numbers of people will be displaced, particularly in coastal cities. Many of these cities are home to many millions of people6.
Not to be outdone for abject stupidity, on Peta Credulous’ show on Sky News, Queensland Liberal National Senator Gerard Rennick was interviewed7. Rennick’s stupidity has been the source of amazement on this blog before. He accused the Bureau of Meteorology of being part of a global conspiracy8. Seemingly descending into an even deeper conspiracy rabbit hole, Rennick said: “I will say this to the treasurer, that … he is starting to come across looking like Dan Andrews in the Belt and Road Initiative by signing up to what’s effectively a Marxist, green, woke agenda which is what Glasgow’s going to be”7. Poor benighted Rennick seems to have forgotten to include the epithets ‘nanny state’ ‘elites’, ‘political correctness’, and ‘virtue signalling’ among other supposed pejoratives used by the dangerously wacky far right wing of the Liberal and National parties9.
While people like Morrison and Frydenberg know that climate change is a ‘hot button’ issue and will sway many voters in the coming federal election, their inaction over the last 8 years demonstrates that they believe donations to their party from the fossil fuel industry are more important than the future of the nation, or the planet. However, the idiocy of McKenzie and Rennick and their National and LNP colleagues in even denying this reality, and the danger of doing nothing, demonstrates their complete lack of concern for future generations of Australians. They belong in gaol, not in parliament.