Climate policy review meaningless under Turnbull government.
As long as the intransigent and wilfully ignorant hard line right wags the federal Coalition dog, the climate policy review planned for next year is doomed to be an exercise in futility.
What is the point of conducting such an exercise if the key figures who appear to be driving government policy on these important matters refuse to face facts or even present open minds?
Carbon review divides government
So long as Malcolm Turnbull, apparently overawed by the rise of truth-free politics in the US and Britain, remains in thrall to the likes of Cory Bernardi and other climate change deniers within Liberal and The Nationals ranks, Australia will lag further and further behind other developed economies.
In a perfect world key initiatives such as the unnecessarily controversial emissions intensity scheme, which appeared to crash and burn with no survivors last week, would be introduced with bipartisan support across all Australian jurisdictions at the same time.
That said, in a perfect world facts and hard evidence would be taken into account when a national response to what is arguably one of the greatest existential threats humanity has faced in hundreds of thousands of years was being formulated.
This appeared to be the line Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg was pursuing when he suggested the government would “look at” an emissions intensity scheme in the event such a beast was recommended by the 2017 review.
It was not a commitment, just an indication the findings would be considered with a reasonably open mind.
This proved several bridges too far for his colleagues on the right, who apparently brought pressure to bear on the once environmentally friendly, but now politically insecure, PM.
The aftermath prompted one commentator to write: “If Frydenberg’s initial comments … reflected a grasp of deeply complex issues, his dismount had the panache of a belly-flop from the 10 metre diving tower. He denied even canvassing an EIS and [then] split for Antarctica”.
The irony is that in the eyes of many experts an EIS is a viable, and lower impact, alternative to a carbon tax and could exercise downward pressure on electricity prices for years to come.
Sadly the climate change-denying rump that holds such sway within the Coalition ranks is not willing to settle for a second-order response to the warming crisis; it wants no meaningful response at all.
The irrational level of opposition to the possibility of an EIS was probably the direct result of the high likelihood next year’s review will say it is a good idea.
Energy Networks Australia, backed by the CSIRO, has already recommended one, as has the Climate Change Authority.
Figures previously supplied to the Turnbull administration, but swept under the carpet apparently for reasons of political convenience, suggested an EIS could save homes and businesses up to $15 billion in electricity bills over a decade.
But no matter; as of last week it is now off the table.
Press link for more: Canberra Times