Or does it?
- In breaking news out of the nation’s capital, a rich white dude from Sydney has replaced another rich white dude from Sydney as the Prime Minister.
- in even more sensational news, a rich white woman has been replaced by a rich white man for the Deputy Prime Ministership, with Josh Frydenberg taking over from Julie Bishop.
Scott Morrison, the new rich dude, is selling himself as a generational change and it’s all about you, the voter. A 64 year-old and a 62 year-old have been replaced by a 50 year-old and a 47 year-old.
Certainly we dodged a bullet in what may have been Malcolm Turnbull’s finest hour in thwarting Peter Dutton’s rebellion. So where does that leave us, especially in relation to climate change?
Turnbull promised much. An excellent article by Giles Parkinson at RenewEconomy reviews his record. In a 2010 speech launching the Beyond Zero Emissions 100 per cent renewable energy plan Turnbull said:
“Sometimes the task of responding to the challenge of climate change may seem too great, too daunting. It is a profound moral challenge, because it is a cross generational challenge. We are asking our own generation to make decisions; to make sacrifices, to make expenditures today so as to safeguard our children, their children and the generations that come after them. It truly requires us to think as a species, not just to think as individuals.”
As to his recent experience in government, Turnbull was frank about what he faced. In an answer to Laura Tingle he said that his priority was to maintain party unity. You can listen to him say it at SBS or read the summary at Carbon Brief:
Amid his departure, the outgoing prime minister has commented that climate change policy is “very hard” for the Liberal-National Coalition because it is treated as an ideological matter with “bitterly entrenched” views, the Guardian writes, in a separate piece. Speaking at his final press conference this morning, Turnbull warned: “In terms of energy policy and climate policy, I think the truth is that the Coalition finds it very hard to get agreement on anything to do with emissions…The emissions issue and climate policy issues have the same problem within the Coalition of…bitterly entrenched views that are actually sort of more ideological views than views based, as I say, in engineering and economics.” Turnbull goes on to compare the issue of climate change to same-sex marriage, in that they were both seen as an “insoluble problem” for the Coalition that his government had been “able to sort out”. (Emphasis added)
(Based on Turnbull warns against ‘politics of race’ and says climate policy ‘very hard’ for Coalition at The Guardian.)
He knew. Turnbull knew when he made concession after concession, choosing party unity and political gain over the future of the planet. He knew that when he accused Labor of basing their policy on ideology, contrasting the Coalition approach of a policy based on science and engineering, that he was lying and that the reverse was true.
Among ABC political journalists there is now a received wisdom that the rebellion was about revenge, that the whole thing was essentially personal. Andrew Probyn and Patricia Karvelas were snowed by Matthias Cormann (I heard them talk to him on NewsRadio in the afternoon, and predicted Probyn’s judgement on TV last night) who said the spill was all about achieving party unity, when in truth he didn’t want to talk about the real reasons.
On August 14:
A majority of Coalition MP’s endorse the National Energy Guarantee, setting the scene for a showdown with Labor.
On August 17:
Malcolm Turnbull and his senior ministers agree to dump plans to legislate the emissions reduction target associated with the NEG, amid rising chatter about a challenge from Peter Dutton. The move addressed the principal demand of those threatening to cross the floor. (Emphasis added)
Then Peter Dutton resigned and events flowed from there.
So there were many reasons, but climate change was the issue that broke party disunity open.
Looking to the men of the future, Scott Morrison brought a lump of coal into parliament in February 2017, for reasons still unknown. I wrote about it in Politicians lie, while corporates game the electricity system:
- politics reached a new level of absurdity last week, as Scott Morrison brought a lump of coal into the parliament, which ended up between a crazed Barnaby Joyce’s legs, while in Question Time Turnbull’s answer to every question about the omnibus bill to change social security entitlements (and save a heap of cash) was to rant about Bill Shorten, blackouts and dreaded renewable energy in South Australia.
All the while, fossil fuel generators are gaming the system, to extract more from electricity consumers, while the market regulator ends up splitting the profits.
Giles Parkinson and Sophie Vorrath look at ScoMo’s record on climate and energy, and it isn’t pretty.
He does have one point in his favour. In April Scott Morrison blasts coal rebels, says new coal power twice as expensive.
Other than that it is mostly combative crap that emanates from his flapping mouth. For example he described the big Tesla battery it as being as useful as the Big Banana. Parkinson and Vorrath say:
Analysis by the Australian Energy Market Operator suggests otherwise, proving it is not just bringing down prices, it is enhancing energy security with its breathtaking speed and versatility. Dozens of battery storage projects are now proposed around the country, to AEMO’s relief.
ScoMo on Queensland’s 50 per cent renewable energy target for 2030:
- “It’s nuts … because it means people under this system will have to pay more and it would probably mean they would be subsidising emissions reduction in NSW… I think it’s a muppet of a proposal.”
ScoMo on Federal Labor’s targets:
- a “job crunching, economy munching, carbon tax on steroids”.
ScoMo does have a reputation for listening to alternative views. Apparently at their party conferences the ‘liberals’ and ‘conservative’ hold separate dinners. ScoMo is the only politician to attend both.
However, it is quite evident that ScoMo doesn’t have two genuine thoughts to rub together on climate change. He says his priorities are the drought, and then dealing with Bill Shorten.
For Frydenberg’s position we go back to the post What the biffo between Weatherill and Frydenberg really means:
The money quote from Jay Weatherill’s outburst was this:
- “Josh Frydenberg was humiliated back in December. We were working with him to introduce an emissions intensity scheme. He knows that. It was well advanced. It was about to happen. Coal interests in the federal Coalition government basically cut him down before he even had a couple of hours explaining it.”
Frydenberg worked with Weatherill on the emissions intensity scheme after the SA blackouts, but when he floated the idea in public, it didn’t last half a day before Turnbull cut him off at the knees.
Remember Clive Hamilton said:
- A reliable source told me that the Nationals keep a document signed by Turnbull promising that he will never support an emissions trading system.
Since then Frydenberg has basically been talking crap about climate change, picking up his lines from Turnbull.
Now he says that the NEG should be left in the final form inherited from Turnbull, which basically means dumping the NEG and focussing on prices. He has no stomach for revisiting the issue, and is happy to hand it on the new minister.
Now the talk in the AFR and the Courier Mail is that the energy portfolio may be handed to Angus Taylor. Phillip Coorey (can’t find the link) said Taylor having to meet with business leasers and the energy stakeholders would teach him a thing or two.
Problem is, he already knows it all. In June 2017, Coorey wrote Forget Tony Abbott, it’s Angus Taylor who’s calling the shots on Finkel.
Speculation abounds Mr Taylor could be handed the poisoned chalice of energy.
Mr Taylor is regarded as an energy policy guru by conservative backbenchers and, as a consultant with Port Jackson Partners and McKinsey & Co before entering politics, advised the energy sector.
Appointing Mr Taylor to the key portfolio would means he would need to develop a new energy policy that satisfies pro-coal climate change sceptics while attempting to offer electricity generators the certainty they crave for investment decisions.
Here’s what Wikipedia says:
On renewable energy, Taylor was a speaker at the “Wind Power Fraud Rally” organised by the anonymous anti-wind blog StopTheseThings.com and hosted by Alan Jones on 18 June 2013 in Canberra.
In a 2013 letter to the editor, Taylor stated that he became engaged in “the wind farm debate” in approximately 2003 when a plan was announced to build turbines on a ridge behind his boyhood home, referring to the Boco Rock Wind Farm approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from Nimmitabel, which commenced construction in August 2013.
On energy policy, Taylor has called on the Coalition government to reduce its support for wind farms and is concerned with Australia’s renewable energy target (RET) based on a belief that renewable energy projects, in particular wind, are increasing electricity costs and a belief that there are cheaper carbon reduction methods.
I am not a climate sceptic. For 25 years, I have been concerned about how rising carbon dioxide emissions might have an impact on our climate. It remains a concern of mine today. I do not have a vendetta against renewables. My grandfather was William Hudson – he was the first Commissioner and Chief Engineer of the Snowy Scheme, Australia’s greatest ever renewable scheme. He believed in renewables and renewables have been in my blood since the day I was born.
— Angus Taylor, Wind Power Fraud Rally, 18 June 2013
Taylor has referred to anthropogenic climate change as “the new climate religion” telling Parliament that “religious belief is based on faith not facts. The new climate religion, recruiting disciples every day, has little basis on fact and everything to do with blind faith.”
Taylor has argued that lower-emission natural gas is a “better way to reduce carbon emissions” and Australia can supply countries such as China and India “with the energy they need to continue their rise.”
To borrow from Xavier Herbert, Poor fellow, my country!
Ben Potter has an article Snubbing clean energy boom could cost Coalition billions:
- Coalition members of Federal Parliament who think walking away from Paris carbon emissions reduction commitments is just a harmless way to appeal to conservative voters might have to think again.
The boom in wind and solar energy, and storage, that has been partly stimulated by the government’s stop-start pursuit of Australia’s Paris emissions targets is worth tens of billions of dollars – and it’s playing out in their electorates.
Turning their backs on these projects in the vain hope a new prime minister can bring coal generation investments back means snubbing thousands of construction jobs in their electorates to pursue coal technology that no serious generation investors want to build and that banks have been warned off by their regulator.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance puts the pipeline of permitted wind and solar projects at 16,600MW worth an estimated $27.7 billion. They’re in every state, mainly in rural Liberal and National Party federal electorates.
Next up is a tsunami of projects whose developers are seeking planning approvals. BNEF has tallied up these projects at 30,000MW worth an estimated $46 billion. To these can be added pumped hydro and battery storage projects with a total power of 10,600MW.
The total pipeline is worth more than $80 billion. A lot of these hopefuls won’t get finance but even if a quarter do, that’s at least $20 billion of investments and thousands of jobs.(Emphasis added)
Will the sun set on renewable energy?
Politicians make choices, but we choose them.
What are we going to do?