The Coalition’s long, winding road from its ridiculous climate change plans to crafting one of its own has produced the worst possible outcome for the world.
Basically Prime Minister Scott Morrison will tell the UN climate conference in Glasgow this weekend that no one has to do anything to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 – it will happen thanks to progress anyway. technological.
The technology was driven by emissions trading and gasoline car bans that other countries have done, but hey – the technology, not the taxes and no mandate to tell people what to do is The Australian Way.
Most people in Glasgow will dismiss him as a picnic, or laugh at his nerve to come to such a big conference with something so trivial, but some might take it as remarkably fine wheezing. .
Sure! Just say the tech that others have been promoting will take care of global warming because, you know, just go down to JB Hi-Fi, as Scott Morrison advised on Tuesday, and see what happened to TV prices. and computers, and how their power has grown, and you can see that you don’t have to do anything to achieve net zero emissions, other than putting some taxpayer money in the pockets of renewable energy entrepreneurs and hydrogen, and – bingo – you are there.
Of course, you can’t have a tough 2030 target on the way to 2050, because two of the main technological solutions – hydrogen and carbon capture and storage – are too expensive to have an impact before 2030, and these are just long term ideas. .
Scott Morrison could actually blow up the Glasgow conference completely by persuading some hesitant national leaders that, per Jove, this Australian is on to something!
We can just stand up and say the words “net zero by 2050” and go home to watch a ticker parade.
The unbelievers dragging the chain
This is the “devastating scenario” that Ross Garnaut warned against last week: that Australia could strike over their weight in Glasgow and weaken the chances of a solid result.
Keeping global warming below 2 degrees will be tough enough without unbelievers like Scott Morrison hitting above their bantamweight.
And yes, of course, Morrison is a non-believer in the science on this subject: It is a political issue to be negotiated and slogan and always has been.
It would be much worse if he truly believed and understood science, as it would mean that he was knowingly endangering the future of his own children.
But like most coalition MPs, this is entirely willful ignorance; they believe in science when it comes to their annual health checks or raising their livestock, but climate change? Nope. What is the policy?
Like many political slogans, “Technology, Not Taxes” contains enough truth to sound plausible.
Renewable energy technology has developed rapidly and there is no reason to believe it is about to stop.
Here are two graphs of the cost and energy output of various forms of energy taken from a study by mathematicians at the University of Oxford, published last month:
Overseas technology driven by taxes
Australia’s net zero plan is as follows: 20% completed, 40% technology roadmap, 15% “global technology trends”, 15% “new technological breakthroughs” and 10-20% international offsets and national.
In other words, it is 70 percent technological hardware supplemented by offsets.
And it is true that there is a very exciting technology that has quickly lowered the cost of solar and wind power below the cost of new coal.
This happens because there are emissions trading systems, voluntary and legislated (i.e. taxes, not technologies) that put a price on carbon and make research on carbon. interesting renewable energies.
In addition, 24 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, have announced their intention to ban or restrict the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles within a decade, which constitutes research on the turbocharging of electric vehicles and batteries.
It goes without saying that Australia is not joining any of these global efforts – our emissions trading system has been gloriously repealed and there is certainly no petrol and diesel ban going on. .
So we’re just planning to get rid of those who have done these things: to claim the benefits of technology that we haven’t done anything to encourage.
The planned investment in this week’s plan is $ 20 billion, half of which comes from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which was established by the Labor government in 2012 and is set to generate a 3% return above the bond rate. , which means it cannot be used for grants.
Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said the plan “will not stop the production of coal or gas, nor will it require the relocation of productive farmland.”
Which shows he doesn’t actually care about global warming – it’s a political attempt to cling to regional headquarters in NSW and Queensland while picking up city seats with the plan’s “net zero” bit.
The problem is, coal is doomed anyway, gas will last longer but not much longer, and cattle farming will “need a move” when the climate emergency finally hits and all the bets are in. drawn, including beef and cow’s milk.
It would be better than MM. Taylor and Morrison prepare regions for this reality, instead of giving them cow manure.
Alan Kohler writes twice a week for The new daily. He is also editor-in-chief of Eureka Report and financial presenter on ABC news