The Guardian broke the story yesterday:
RenewEconomy also posted a story:
I’ll do a further post putting this in a broader context later, but would appreciate initial reactions.
The main thing is that since the elections Labor has said they would honour Australia’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. This is now being formalised. Any murmurings that might come out of the so-called ‘Otis group’ have to be seen in this context.
The AFR today points out that 73 countries have signed up to zero emissions by 2050, including the UK, Canada, France and Germany. All Autralian states have adopted it. The Business Couincil of Australia, AGL, Santos, BHP, Amcor, BP, Wesfarmers, Telstra and others agree.
Among those others, Shell is turning itself into an energy company, rather than a fossil fuel company.
Labor cannot now say that coal will be mining will continue for the “foreseeable future”, and the notion of stranded assets needs to be taken seriously.
If you scroll down the RenewEconomy link you will see comments from Adam Bandt. Albanese has said in relation to Zali Steggall’s bill, the only way to get climate action is to elect a Labor government. Bandt, as I expected, will emphasise what is wrong with Labor’s proposals, rather than why we should run with them and seek to improve them.
My initial reaction is that Bandt is strictly correct. If you fail to act on emissions reduction, you have to do more sooner to make up for the emissions you have put into the atmosphere. However, doing what is correct is probably not possible in the political and practical sense.
I would argue that Bandt should be calling for the world to focus on a safe climate, that is, aiming for 350 ppm, which is Greens’ policy, rather than a 50% shot at avoiding the worst of a dangerous climate, which is what the UNFCCC, the IPCC and most of the countries and other entities declaring a climate emergency are aiming for. I’ll just remind people here that Extinction Rebellion want zero emissions by 2025. Prof Mark Howden has made a distinction between a climate emergency and a climate crisis. He thinks we are in a climate crisis.
Questions have already been raised as to “What will it cost?” It will be interesting to see how Albanese handles this. Last night Penny Wong, talking to Patricia Karvelas, turned the question around to ask, What is the cost of the Morrison government’s approach which is effectively doing nothing? She cited a recent report which said doing nothing would cost 20 times as much doing what is necessary.
This morning Mark Butler was interviewed by Fran Kelly.
He pointed out that the ‘45% by 2030’ target stemmed from 2014. Labor coming into office in 2022 would have half the time to achieve that outcome, because the Coalition has done nothing.
He said Labor would be guided by the best science.
I think it is inevitable that Labor would initiate a major inquiry in office, whether it be through a revamped Climate Change Authority, or, more likely, a version of Steggall’s Climate Change Commission.
I would hope that Labor in government would seek advice from such a body on how we could achieve a safe climate, to give hope to the young, rather than accept that the best we can do is allow the already dangerous to become significantly worse.
Finally, Richard Dennis on Wednesday night said that Bill Shorten was actually correct in his response on climate costings. Shorten said it was a “silly question”. Much of Dennis’s talk was about how economics can only measure the measurable, which is often not the most important consideration. And pretending you can measure what will be happening in the economy decades ahead is ridiculous. What you can measure often doesn’t tell you much. Imagine making forecasts about the 21st century in the 1970s when microcomputers had not been invented, when no-one had heard of the internet etc etc.
He pointed out that you have to decide what you want to do, then set out to do it. There was no economic modelling informing the great reforms of the Hawke-Keating years.
The lecture was in the State Library. There was much comment about the impossibility of measuring the effect of having such an institution available.
It is clear that we have to act to achieve a sustainable society and economy within planetary boundaries within which the human race can flourish and achieve greater human well-being for all. We have to start from where we are. It seems to me that Albanese understands this and is going to give it his best shot. I would rather we ran with him and helped him to do the best he can, instead of picking him off from the sidelines.