The man who brought a lump of lacquered coal into parliament in early 2017, to wave in the face of the Labor Opposition, was then treasurer, Scott Morrison. He shouted, as he often does: “This is coal. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be scared”. This appalling behaviour was met with great jocularity by others on the government front bench1, and was unsurprising from a government which had, in July 2014, repealed the only successful method of decreasing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme2. At the time, the Prime Minister was the ludicrously incompetent Tony Abbott, who some years earlier had said that the “so-called settled science of climate change” was “absolute crap”. In 2017, as a backbencher, he spoke to the climate change denialist organisation, the Global Warming Policy Foundation and said that climate change is “probably doing good” and that policies to combat it are akin to “primitive people … killing goats to appease the volcano gods”3.
After Tony Abbott was dumped from the prime ministership, Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister, and his government came up with the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) which was about two things; the reliability of the electricity grid and emissions reduction, and was effectively an emissions trading scheme. It was constructed so that it did very little and seemed to be mostly designed to obscure the fact that the government had no effective policy4.
Even the NEG was going too far for the climate change deniers in the Coalition, because, as soon as Morrison replaced Turnbull as prime minister, he killed off the NEG5. The Climate Change deniers in the Coalition and among its fellow travellers are numerous6,7. They include: Eric Abetz, Kevin Andrews, Matthew Canavan8, Michaelia Cash, George Christensen, Jonathon Duniam, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Celia Hammond9, Pauline Hanson, Alex Hawke, Barnaby Joyce10,11, Bob Katter, Craig Kelly12,13, Michael McCormack14, Ken O’Dowd, Tony Pasin, James Paterson, Gerrard Rennick15, Malcolm Roberts, Zed Seselja, Angus Taylor and Tim Wilson, among others.
Their accomplices in denialism in the Murdoch media are numerous in what are laughably called newspapers. These include Terry McCrann16, Maurice Newman17, and Ian Plimer18, among many others. Even one of their editorial writers denied their denialism19, which is something that has been clear for years. In addition to the News Corp ‘newspapers’, the bizarre denizens of the Sky News After Dark (SAD) menagerie have also been busily denying the reality of climate change. These include Rowan Dean20, 21, Rita Panahi, James Morrow22, Peta Credlin23, Chris Kenny, Alan Jones, and Andrew Bolt24.Other idiots from various outlets have also joined in, and include Alan Jones (before he was dumped from 2GB and joined SAD)25, Tom Switzer from the Sydney Morning Herald26, and Tom Elliot from 3AW27.
This climate change denial by the government and News Corp went to bizarre lengths. During the 2019 election campaign, the Labor Party put forward a plan to have 50% of new vehicles sold in Australia by 2030 to be fully electric. It was ridiculed by those in the Murdoch media such as Caroline Overington28, and the astonishingly incapable Chris Kenny29, as well as by those in government, including Scott Morrison30, Angus Taylor31, and Michaelia Cash32.
Now we learn that News Corp has supposedly changed tack with all sorts of marvellous headlines shouting the benefits in jobs from the economy going green. Headlines such as ‘Climate of change’ ‘Get ready to power up’ ‘Green and gold’ were all over the News Corp tabloids33. It was mooted some time ago that News Corp outlets were going to end their “long-standing editorial hostility towards carbon reduction policies and advocate for the world’s leading economies to hit net zero emissions by 2050”34, 35. However, all that is ‘promised’ in this News Corp backflip is a two-week campaign fronted by news.com.au columnist Joe Hildebrand. This campaign will run in mid-October before the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow from October 31 to November 1233. This is campaign is solely designed to prevent Scott Morrison or his representative being hammered at the conference for his government’s inaction on emissions reduction.
As Ketan Joshi has predicted, this Hildebrand campaign will be pro-business and “will make a show of dismissing the ‘hysterics’ of climate activists, while urging governments, including Australia’s, to set distant, meaningless and non-binding climate targets”. It won’t allow for emissions reductions to keep warming below the preferred 1.5°C goal of the Paris agreement36; there will be no short-term meaningful targets or actions such as those highlighted in the International Energy Agency’s recent ‘net zero’ report37. It won’t argue for a coal phase-out by 2030, or the end of new coal mine approvals, or the end of gas and oil drilling in Australia, or a ban on internal combustion engine sales by 2030-2035; all of which are vital actions if Australia is to achieve any net zero target36.
This is because this campaign has nothing to do with getting to net zero emissions by 2050 or 45% by 2030, or keeping warming to a level below 1.5°C or even 2.0°C. It is all about getting the Morrison government re-elected so taxpayer funds will continue to flow to News Corp. Anything regarding emissions reduction is window dressing, or ‘greenwashing’. If anyone thinks otherwise, contact me, I have a harbour bridge I’d like to sell you.
Many people wonder what the SAD lunatics will now do. Personally, I’d like to see them go to gaol for their criminal denial of reality. Their behaviour, like that of the Liberal and National parties and others like them, has retarded action on climate change, and that may have condemned millions to death or displacement. They have endangered the human race and the ecosystems on which all other life depends. Not only is a crime against humanity, it is ecocide and these people need to pay for it.