21.10.21. Before any of the Coalition’s MPs get too excited about supposedly ending the climate wars, they need to remember how they got into government and why they’re still there. They’re in government because Tony Abbott won a landslide election promising to repeal the carbon tax, giving them a big enough buffer of seats to survive the subsequent revolving-door prime ministership. They’re still in government only because at the 2019 election the Coalition had modest emissions targets and could cost and explain them. Labor had much bigger emissions targets that it couldn’t explain and wouldn’t cost. That’s why this conversion to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, in senator Matt Canavan’s words, looks like a betrayal of the quiet Australians.
Source: Peta Credlin, NCA
Glasgow bandwagon careering out of control
Trying to make the new policy palatable, Scott Morrison has let it be known that the government has modelling purporting to show that Australia’s agricultural, resource and gas exports will be even higher – yes, even higher under net zero – in 2050 than they are now. But hang on, before the 2019 election, to blast Labor’s policy as reckless, the Prime Minister cited modelling that cutting emissions by 45 per cent would cumulatively cost 336,000 jobs, cut wages by $9000 and reduce gross domestic product by a half trillion dollars. So then the modelling said a 45 per cent cut would crush the economy; now the modelling supposedly says a much bigger cut – effectively 100 per cent – will boost the economy? Go figure.
This week’s reported but not released government modelling apparently claims that in 2050 gas exports will exceed today’s figures in volume and in price. How does this square with last week’s International Energy Agency modelling that fossil fuels will go from about 80 per cent of the world’s total energy now to only 22 per cent in 2050; or Wednesday’s UK Treasury modelling that assumes getting to net zero will require a $92 a tonne carbon price in 2030 and a $295 a tonne price in 2050 (compared with Julia Gillard’s 2012 carbon tax of just $23)?
Despite all the hype about renewables being cheap and creating green jobs, in every country more renewable power has meant higher costs, lower reliability and the flight of manufacturing industry to China. Just look at the energy crisis hitting Britain and western Europe because of a wind drought and skyrocketing demand for gas.
Frankly, it staggers me that so many Coalition MPs have been prepared to jump on the COP26 bandwagon, which is careering out of control because nothing is ever enough to satisfy the climate warriors. Almost as soon as the Coalition agreed in 2015 to a 26 to 28 per cent cut by 2030 (because that was achievable within policy settings) the campaign began for more.
First, the demand was to commit to net zero by 2050. And as soon as the government started signalling that it would, the demand became higher targets for 2030. Now that it looks like existing policy will deliver a 36 per cent cut, the demand is for further cuts requiring costly and disruptive change. If the latest demand is for a 45 to 50 per cent cut by 2030, you can be certain that in a couple of years the demand will be net zero by 2040 or sooner. This is allegedly because otherwise the planet will face catastrophe; the same catastrophe that has been just around the corner for decades that stubbornly has never come.
The reason nothing is ever enough for the climate cult is because the objective is less to save the planet than to change the way we live; and if that makes us more vulnerable to China and Russia, so much the better.
Old-school Marxists were never able to persuade Western workers to revolt for equality, but today’s cultural Marxists have been much better at persuading Western elites to revolt to save the planet. This is even though China and Russia are doing no such thing and indicating their contempt for the whole emission obsession by absenting themselves from Glasgow.
What’s curious and (to long-term Liberal supporters) galling is that so many Coalition MPs have become the latest useful idiots in this campaign.
By sticking with the current targets for 2030 while committing to net zero for 2050, the Prime Minister thinks he is shrewdly satisfying the inner-city Liberals on climate and the regional Liberals on jobs. If, as is likely, this is criticised as not enough by greens and too much by conservatives, he’ll doubtless claim that being attacked from both sides shows he has got it right.
An alternative interpretation is that this is a bloke who, under pressure, can’t stick with the same position from one election to the next and thus stands for nothing.
Of itself, that’s enough to leave Morrison with a credibility gap. This will be willingly exploited by a raft of minor parties on the right, with messaging hits about the impact of net zero on low-income households, small business and regional communities, once bread-and-butter constituencies for the Coalition but looking more and more as if they’ve been abandoned in favour of the UN, big-business rent-seekers and virtue-signalling billionaires.
If decarbonising the economy really is an “unstoppable change”, why does it need to be mandated and subsidised by government?
And if it must be mandated by government, surely it’s high time to embrace the only proven way to produce emissions-free electricity via a government commitment to develop a civil nuclear industry.
Japan has quietly rethought its post-Fukushima commitment to phase out nuclear. France has just shelved its plan to reduce reliance on nuclear. And Britain is about to announce a big increase in its nuclear power program.
This week there have been pro-nuclear demonstrations in Belgium; and Bill Gates, hardly a conservative climate denier, has declared that nuclear power should “absolutely” be politically acceptable because it’s safer than oil, coal and gas. For climate activists still opposed to nuclear power, the real agenda is not green energy but less energy; it’s economic and social re-engineering disguised as saving the planet.
For Morrison, who needs to keep his team united and enthusiastic, the advantage of using nuclear to get to net zero is that his political fight will no longer be against his own natural supporters but a Labor Party with the double standard of supporting nuclear power at sea but not on land.
The Prime Minister’s colleagues suggesting that net zero was the blood price for “modern Liberal” votes to take over from Malcolm Turnbull might have a point – but what a price if they end up back in opposition for no environmental gain and a world of economic pain.