The first three months of the year are always difficult for me. It’s hot and humid, and there is a lot of physical work to do. I tend to have annual medical check ups, and our tax return for last year needs to be done by the end of March.
Last year I was in better shape because the blog was broken over the festive season, which allowed me to get a head start. This year the time to get it all sorted is now, so that is what I’m going to have to do.
I intend to keep blogging, mainly short ones and perhaps Climate clippings and Weekly salons, until things get sorted.
Meanwhile I’ve had to set aside a couple of posts I’ve done a fair bit of work on, including the follow-up to Pivotal moments in climate change: Part 1 where Part 2 was going to address what the changeover of shadow cabinet responsibility for climate change from Mark Butler to Chris Bowen meant.
I’ll give the short version here.
LEAN has sent us a compilation of all Chris Bowen’s media statements since he took up the job.
Bowen has repeatedly committed to zero emissions by 2050, which will mean in effect that Australia rejoins the international consensus on climate action. Everyone would know I think that lacks urgency, but I don’t expect Labor will want to get ahead of the pack. There is a legitimate question as to what Labor’s intention to “follow the science” means in practice since its policies to date have based on a Climate Change Authority report of 2014. The next IPCC assessment report AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, due mid-year this year is likely to be central.
Bowen has repeatedly said that Labor will take to the election a policy which shows how the 2050 net-zero target will be reached, including an interim target. He hasn’t put a date on the interim target at this stage, but it may be 2035 rather than 2030.
- Labor should avoid moralising to workers in traditional industries but at the same time must be completely honest with them.
“The ramifications of ignoring the need for good climate change policy are much worse, not only for the economy generally, but for them,” he says.
Mr Bowen recounts the story of Mt Morgan in Queensland, where his own forebears mined copper, gold and silver in the 1880s.
He said the town today was an example of what could happen when there was no plan for a community to assist them with change.
“The mine closed in 1981.
From RenewEconomy “Gas simply not low emissions”: Labor opposes Taylor’s CEFC power grab. He also said that gas is not cheap.
Overall Bowen says that doing nothing about climate change will cost jobs, whereas climate action will create jobs.
Here is what Bowen said on getting the gig, I believe to Katharine Murphy:
Australia faces a choice.
As global markets shift away from carbon-intensive industries, we can stand by and allow Australian jobs and communities to be decimated.
Or we can embrace new industries and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the suburbs and regions – all while reducing emissions and improving energy affordability and reliability.
With more than two million Australians unemployed or underemployed, the choice is clear to me and I’m delighted to be appointed as the Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy.
In contrast, this hapless Government has offered 22 energy policies in eight years – wrecking business confidence and slashing jobs.
Scott Morrison and his embattled Energy Minister remain isolated on net zero by 2050 – from our major trading partners, our leading businesses, and even our Liberal states.
As we’ve seen again this week, the Coalition remains deeply divided on the science of climate change, let alone the path forward.
For more than two terms, my friend Mark Butler has held the Government to account for this pathetic record with his characteristic intellect and energy.
Mark literally wrote the book on climate policy in Australia and I look forward to his continued counsel in my new role.
I also thank the health sector for working so closely with me since 2019 and, most importantly, for its efforts to tackle COVID-19 and the many other health challenges we face.
I will continue to work with the sector on what the World Health Organisation has described as the defining health threat of the 21st Century – climate change.
As I was about to finish this post, news came through that ALP National Platform final draft for the party national conference was now available. There are at least two reactions:
- Michael Mazengarb in RenewEconomy – Labor to support gas and CCS alongside zero carbon target in new policy platform
- Phillip Coorey in the AFR – Labor backs gas as key to hitting net zero by 2050
Can I say that I think gas gets a gig because they think it will be necessary rather than a concession to the Fitzgibbon faction. And, contra Coorey, seeing the use of gas as critical to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, does not bring Labor in line with the views of the Morrison government. For the Morrison government gas is the main menu.
On science, it is clear that Labor will follow the IPCC, but will also revamp the Climate Change Authority to provide direction.
It will also set up a new statutory authority charged with mitigating the adverse impacts of coal power station closures and associated mines on regional workforces and communities.
Overall Labor sees climate action as an opportunity for economic renewal as well as a necessary action in relation to the environment. It sees inaction as having devastating economic and environmental consequences.
The Coalition sees climate action as a cost, and Australia’s action as basically irrelevant, so we should act in our own good time to suit ourselves.
FWIW, and from what Chris Bowen has said, I get the impression that Mark Butler may have initiated the change in portfolios. He had done a long stint, and anyone with an eye on higher honours would seek to broaden their experience.