Time for Tony Abbott to admit his climate policy is crap

That is Giles Parkinson’s advice to Abbott.

Parkinson says Australia should be embarrassed by its lack of action compared to the United States and China, which has indicated it will place a cap on its emissions as soon as 2016.

Ironically, Abbott could have a pretty good collection of climate and renewable energy policies just by doing nothing. Everything Labor put in place is still there, apart from Tim Flannery and the Climate Commission, which has morphed into the Climate Council with private money and public donations.

The carbon price is still there, the renewable energy target can still deliver more than a 20 per cent share of wind, solar, hydro and biomass, and push more coal- and gas-fired generation out of the market.

Even the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, with a $10 billion budget that will hasten new technologies and deliver abatement and profits to the government, and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, with money to spend on new technologies such as this groundbreaking solar thermal plant, and the first large scale solar and storage plant for a major mining operation, are still in operation.

So, too, is the Climate Change Authority. And by a strange quirk of fate, the country’s official emissions reduction target has jumped to 18.9 per cent, the result of some forward thinking policy wonks who decided to lock in Australia’s prior climate commitments in the case of a political stalemate.

Around 19 per cent is exactly what the CCA, and many others, say is Australia’s fair share, given the developments overseas.


So what sort of fool would want to tear these policies down? Pretty much the sort whose ideology and vested interests makes him blind to the fact that business as usual is neither credible, nor possible.

Not everyone in the Liberal Party is happy:

As one Liberal Party observer noted this week: “Clearly, there are enough sitting Liberal members that reject the Americanisation of Australia’s social values.

“There are enough who understand science and research and the importance of science and research to Australia’s well being. There are enough who are sick of the Liberal brand being trashed by climate deniers within the party.”

A voting block of around 16 would do the trick – that’s less than the number of Coalition MPs under threat in marginal seats. What could possibly be the downside?

Bring on the revolution, Abbott must go!

It’s all very well for some Liberal pollies to have a conscience. None of them seems to have the bottle to do anything that might lead to change.

Time to stop dreaming. Greg Hunt, Abbott’s climate poodle, plays with the figures, stretches things a bit and concludes that the US and Australia have very similar positions.

The real fun begins when they sit down with Clive Palmer, who thinks all the carbon ‘tax’ collected should be reimbursed to the polluters.

Also I wouldn’t mind being a fly on the wall when Abbott sits down with Obama and discusses whether climate change should be on the G20 agenda. Surely if Obama is serious about climate change he’ll give Abbott an offer he can’t refuse. Like why would Obama bother coming if important stuff is left off the agenda.

7 thoughts on “Time for Tony Abbott to admit his climate policy is crap”

  1. In terms of driving long term investment in clean technology both the carbon tax and RET are dead. They are dead because they depend on durable bipartisanship over many election cycles to give investors the confidence that they will get a reasonable return on investment. New data shows that no new large scale energy projects directly justified by the RET have been committed during 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. In addition, the price of large-scale renewable energy certificates has dropped by nearly a half to $28.55 since the Abbott government was elected. Not so sure about the effect of uncertainty re the carbon tax. There is no suggestion that companies that invested on the basis of the carbon tax legislation will get any compensation if it is repealed.
    The RET and carbon tax will still be dead if Labor wins the next election. The need partisanship to work and a win by Labor is no guarantee of that unless there is a revolution within the LNP.
    What is noticeable is that systems that offer the security of long term contracts like the ACT solar auction system are working. Contract based systems will protect investors even if a hostile opposition gets elected at the next election.
    To my mind the bottom line is driving down emissions.
    The bottom line is not defending the RET or the carbon tax or any other system.

  2. Parkinson has a lot of fun in the article, but I think his main purpose is to point out that Australia is being left badly behind. Abbott has always taken the position that we should not move first. Well now is the time we must move or our position will be embarrassing.

    Hunt and Abbott seem incapable of embarrassment and are claiming our effort is comparable to that of the US. Along with other nations Australia needs to put its post-2020 intentions up by March 2015. Hunt, Abbott and co seem to be waiting until after that time to make up their minds.

  3. Laurie Oakes and the Murdoch press are claiming the Tony Abbott has cancelled meeting with the heads of the IMF, the World Bank and the US treasury. Oakes says all had expressed concern about Australia’s climate policy. According to Oakes Abbott claimed there were scheduling problems and the meetings were back on again.

    The situation is confused, but if you look towards the end of this report, only the meeting with the US Treasury Secretary has been confirmed. All three will be at the G20.

    On second thoughts, it might be better to leave it all to Joe.

  4. There needs to be a conversation about the economic risks of not acting.
    Firstly, there is the risk that countries that are acting will introduce sanctions against countries that are not acting. Particularly developed countries like Aus that can easily afford to act. Particularly a developed country which already has a per capita emissions rate much higher than any other developed country.
    Secondly, there is the cost of energy factor. Once the capital has been repaid the cost of power from solar and wind is very very low because no fuel is required and maintenance costs should also be quite low. My current thinking is that we should be using quantitative easing to pay for the building of our renewable energy industry. Within limits, quantitative easing will help make our currency more competitive.
    Renewable energy is Australia’s only hope of becoming the low cost energy capital of the world. .

  5. Throughout all the responses, in Australia, to climate change and to changing world demand for resources, there have been some illogical and downright destructive moves and omissions. Some of these have been so manifestly counter-productive that they cannot be explained by wilful ignorance nor by laziness nor by stupidity alone …. however, they can be explained by covert economic attacks so as to keep Australia dependent on stale old technology and to prevent it becoming a rival to those who are adapting profitably to climate change.

  6. Now Abbott is apparrently ganging up with Commonwealth ultra conservatives to fight the rest of the world on climate change. Can it get much worse?

  7. Surprise! Surprise! Everybody in the world thinks Abbott is wrong that carbon trading is coming to an end worldwide. Very wrong!
    Okay, so we are used to Abbott lying every time he opens his mouth. But to do it on the world stage? Abbott is shaming Australia.

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