Comment: Abbott's uncomfortable climate policy

Abbott v Rudd

Well, the Coalition have finally revealed their climate policy, and it looks as uneasy as one would expect. At least it’s not a massive new tax a la ETS, but the gestures towards cutting carbon dioxide (well done to TA for making this small but important point) are really just that. TA looked uncomfortable on The 7.30 Report last night, defending a policy that you know he doesn’t really believe in, and Kerry O’Brien succeeded in exposing that conflict.

The problem is that, deep down, TA is a true sceptic [Bravo for that – Ed]. He knows that the climate science is corrupted and that the projections for dangerous global warming are mostly hype. However, he doesn’t believe he can say this in the current political climate – which is probably right. Not doing anything would give Labor and the Greens a field day – branding the Opposition “deniers”, “flat earthers” and every other warmist ad hominem known to man. It would also go down very badly with the public at the moment, who have been so utterly brainwashed by the government and a media in its pocket that they still believe global warming needs action. This is despite everything that has happened since Climategate in November, and the disaster of Copenhagen in December.

This, however, is starting to change. The Australian continues to print sceptical articles, and even the Fairfax press have begun doing the same. The barrage of stories exposing incompetence and manipulation or suppression of data in the IPCC reports continues unabated. The IPCC has been exposed, not as a body of scientific impartiality, but of extremist environmental advocacy.

In time, the weight of evidence against the “consensus” will eventually percolate through to the public, despite the media’s increasingly unsuccessful attempts at its suppression. Eventually (and I hope it happens before the election), the collective public penny will drop, and there will be a unanimous cry of “We’ve been conned.”

So TA should bide his time and continue with his “interim” policy, until the political climate and public opinion can accept what should be the proper Coalition position: that climate change is a non-problem.

Tony Abbott unveils Coalition climate change policy

From the ABC:

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has placed a $1 billion emissions reduction fund at the heart of the Coalition’s new $3.2b climate change policy.

Announcing the policy today, Mr Abbott said the Coalition would use the fund and its policy to invest in direct measures to help the public, industry and farmers cut emissions.

Those measures would include planting 20 million trees, a $1,000 solar panel rebate and soil carbon storage.

Mr Abbott said the plan would be simpler, cheaper and more effective than the Government’s emissions trading scheme and would deliver the same 5 per cent cut in emissions by 2020.

“Our policy will deliver the same emissions reductions as the Government’s, but without the Government’s great big new tax,” he said.

The policy would be funded from the Budget over the forward estimates but Mr Abbott is yet to explain where the Coalition would find the savings to pay for it.

But he says the Coalition’s policy is vastly cheaper than the ETS, which he says will cost $40b over the same period.

“It’s careful, it’s costed, and it’s capped,” Mr Abbott said. (source)

And Tony Abbott has used his first question time as Opposition leader to goad Kevin Rudd into a debate on climate change, which Rudd continues to shy away from:

Mr Abbott, who earlier released the coalition’s long-awaited climate change policy, opened question time by directly challenging the prime minister.

“When I first challenged the prime minister to a public debate on climate change, he refused, saying the coalition had no policy,” he told parliament.

“Well, we have a policy which is simpler cheaper and clearer than the government’s.

“Does the prime minister have the guts to have a nationally-televised debate about climate change?” (source)

Answer: NO. And to finish off, Rudd comes out with his usual evasive nonsense:

Mr Rudd said the opposition had some simple questions to answer: Did it understand the science behind climate change, how did it propose to tackle it, and was it fair dinkum?

“Was it fair dinkum?” Oh per-lease. And I think the Opposition understands the science (or now should we say, the lack of science) better than you do, clearly.

Abbott: 4 degree rise "not the greatest moral challenge"

Needs a new climate adviser

You have to wonder who is advising Tony Abbott on climate. This kind of comment plays straight into the warmists’ hands, especially as we wait for the Coalition’s climate policy, due on Tuesday:

It will deliver the same carbon pollution reduction as Labor’s emissions trading scheme but for a “comparatively modest cost”, he told a Young Liberals convention in Adelaide on Saturday.

Mr Abbott also mocked Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for declaring climate change was the greatest moral challenge of our time.

“It’s an important issue but even if dire predictions are right and average temperatures around the globe rise by four degrees over the century, it’s still not the ‘great moral challenge’ of our time – as Mr Rudd has described it on 14 occasions – let alone the ‘greatest’ moral challenge of our time – as Mr Rudd has described it at least four times,” Mr Abbott said.

“Adapting to changing rainfall patterns, for example, will be hard but it won’t supplant the threat of war, injustice, disease and want as the biggest problems with which humanity must grapple.”

And, naturally, here is the response:

The Climate Institute’s chief executive John Connor said it was reckless and ridiculous for Mr Abbott to be relaxed about a four-degree rise in global temperatures.

“He’s missed the link that such an increase will, in fact, lead to greater insecurity and instability around the world and particularly in our region.

“It will lead to very significant public health impacts and disease.”

And I’d have to agree that a 4 Celsius rise would probably have an enormous effect on the planet. Tony Abbott has tacitly admitted that the “dire projections” of the IPCC have some validity, whereas in reality the credibility of the alarmist science is disappearing faster than a Himalayan glacier. The point he should have made is that Rudd’s “great moral challenge” could not be based on flawed models and dodgy science.

Read it here.

Tony Abbott at the Sydney Institute

Tony Abbott delivers an earlier Sydney Institute address

I was fortunate enough to attend Tony Abbott’s policy speech at the Sydney Institute last night and had the pleasure of meeting him afterwards. It was a very interesting speech, with one of the key messages being that environmental matters are being sidelined thanks to the obsessions with climate change. I understand he will announce a climate change policy in a couple of weeks, but the focus of last night’s speech was the Murray-Darling, and the creation of a 15,000 strong land army to tackle environmental problems.

Mr Abbott did touch on climate issues, however:

Of course, Australia has a role in reducing global emissions but we can’t save the world from climate change on our own. To act alone would simply export emissions (and jobs) to other countries. Not only has the Rudd Government’s grandstanding on climate change failed. It’s masked the near total neglect of those environmental problems that Australians alone can fix. In the past two years, there has been almost no progress on improving water use in the Murray-Darling basin, only modest additional use of renewable energy, and no further support for more effective land care. In fact, funding for solar panels, water recycling and land care programmes has been cut. Instead, there’s been a great deal of political barracking plus obsessive support for an emissions trading scheme: a great big new tax on everything that merely masquerades as a programme to improve the environment.

A unilateral emissions tax here in Australia would do next to nothing for the environment but would seriously damage the competitive position of our export industries. In the long run, it would damage our ability to fund the environmental improvements here in Australia that only Australians can bring about.

It’s stunning to hear the Greens to give even limited support to ideas on the environment from the Liberals, as the ABC reports:

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young agrees with the Opposition Leader’s critique of the Government.

“They have done little on tackling the Murray Darling Basin – a lot of talk and no action,” she said.

Senator Hanson Young says both ideas have merit, but the Liberal’s track record on environmental issues undermines Mr Abbott’s message. (source)

That’s why they’re changing the track. But we can always count on a knee-jerk reaction from Penny Wong, and we weren’t disappointed:

“It appears Mr Abbott is again making things up as he goes along, stealing from failed Howard government policies when he can’t come up with his own ideas,” Senator Wong said.

“Mr Abbott now has 19 days to release his detailed and fully costed policy on climate change.” (source)

Tick tock tick tock. Penny clearly doesn’t read the papers, or else she would have seen The Australian’s ridiculing of her constant, robotic “countdown mode” just two days ago (see here).

Read the full text of the speech here.

Grocery industry "backs Coalition on ETS"

5% increase at least

The grocery industry has rubbished the government’s forecasts on price increases, claiming that they will rise far more than predicted:

THE grocery industry has sided with the Coalition’s claim the Rudd government’s emissions trading scheme will be a big tax.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett said yesterday that claims by the Australian Food and Grocery Council that food prices would be pushed up by 5 per cent overstated the reality by seven times.

“The Treasury modelling found that in 2013, the average price impact of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme on food bills will be around $68 a year — less than 1 per cent of household food bills,” Mr Garrett said.

However, the council chief executive Kate Carnell said this was not realistic, given the role of electricity in the processed food supply chain. “The average shopping basket is about $200 a week, so the government’s modelling suggests a barely 0.5 per cent increase off the back of increases in electricity prices of 20 to 40 per cent. That is not even vaguely credible in a manufacturing industry,” she said.

Read it here.

No ETS in Coalition policy

The way ahead for Australia

The way ahead for Australia

The Coalition policy on climate change will not include any ETS or carbon tax, and will re-open the debate on nuclear power – about time too. Penny Wong, in her closing speech to the Senate yesterday held up the examples of the US, UK and France as countries which have working emissions trading schemes, conveniently forgetting one key fact: they all have massive nuclear power capability.

TONY Abbott plans to fight a climate change election using land management and energy efficiency measures to slash greenhouse emissions instead of an emissions trading scheme or a carbon tax.

And as the Senate yesterday buried Kevin Rudd’s proposed carbon emissions trading scheme, the new Opposition Leader said his alternative means of reducing emissions would meet the same targets for sharp reductions in emissions proposed by Labor.

Mr Abbott’s promise came as Labor folded in the face of his dare for an early election on climate.

Despite the Senate’s rejection of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme establishing a double-dissolution trigger, Julia Gillard said the government would give the Coalition “one more chance” to change its mind. The Acting Prime Minister said Labor would introduce a new CPRS bill, including amendments agreed to by the Coalition under ousted leader Malcolm Turnbull, to parliament in February in the hope that “calmer heads” within the Coalition would shift their positions. (source)

But there is precious little hope of that:

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says he expects the Coalition’s position to harden over the summer break.

He has ruled out taking an emissions trading scheme or a carbon tax to the next election as Coalition policy and says there is “very little” chance the Coalition would vote for one in February.

Nationals Senate Leader Barnaby Joyce does not think the public will be impressed by the idea of a third vote.

The Australian people will just get furious with you. We’ve made our decision, you’re playing a game and we’re sick of it,” he said.

Get over it, get on with life and get back to the next item of politics.” (source)

Well said, Barnaby, who may soon be on the front bench…

Coalition to vote down ETS, trigger election on climate change

Conservative roots

Conservative roots

This is precisely what we need – as has been said before, an election campaign is the only way in which the ETS can be exposed for what it is – a tax on everything based on flawed and exaggerated science.

TONY Abbott will steer the Liberal Party back to its conservative roots with a 2010 election campaign portraying Kevin Rudd as a Whitlamesque big spender whose climate change policies will smash Australian jobs.

The new Opposition Leader’s first act after ousting Malcolm Turnbull in a partyroom vote yesterday was to scrap his party’s support for Labor’s carbon emissions trading scheme, which he dismissed as “a great big tax”.

And Mr Abbott immediately moved to repair the Liberals’ shattered relations with the Nationals, embracing their contempt for the ETS after months of Mr Turnbull dismissing their views as irrelevant.

As Senate leader Barnaby Joyce rejoiced in a return of Coalition unity and pledged to pick apart Labor’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme “piece by piece”, the Labor Party released an advertisement warning that an Abbott government would take the nation backwards on climate change and industrial relations.

But Mr Abbott was unabashed, foreshadowing sharper policies on border protection and industrial relations to re-engage with his party’s conservative core.

“We have spent too much time arguing over whether we might look right-wing or that we might look like a return to the Howard government,” Mr Abbott told The Australian last night.

“What we need to do is to apply to problems common sense and forget about the tags.” (source)

Disappointingly, it looks like some Liberal senators will defy the new policy and vote with the government. Here’s the “name-and-shame” list:

  • Judith Troeth
  • Sue Boyce
  • Gary Humphries

Fortunately, these three will not be enough to let the bill through, so by lunchtime, we can say “farewell to the ETS” – for now at least.

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