Combining ministerial responsibility for energy and the environment — now the fiefdom of Josh “Future Leader of the Liberal Party” Frydenberg — makes a lot of sense. As Australian Climate Foundation CEO Kelly O’Shanassy tells Crikey today:

“We know that in the 21st century you can’t have coal and healthy reefs. So it means the one person has to look at greenhouse emissions coming from the way we produce our energy and look at the impact those greenhouse emissions have on the places we love, and that Australians want protected.”

But any hope environmental groups had around this government getting serious about climate change were, typically, met with an immediate reality check. Here’s new National Party cabinet member and Resources Minister Matthew Canavan’s garbled climate take on Sky News yesterday:

“There is a level of uncertainty about the impact of carbon emissions. Indeed, in the last IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report, the level of confidence reduced in the forcing effect of carbon emissions.

“There is a lot about the climate system we don’t understand, a lot of assumptions we have to make with projections of course. I just feel we should all be a little more humble about our climate and our system.

“To think that we know it all and exactly how to fine tune the temperature, to talk of half a degree of temperature that we could somehow manage that and hit that target, we don’t understand all the impacts.”

It’s about the known unknowns, see. Or something. Know this: members like Canavan will nobble Malcolm Turnbull at every climate turn.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey