Sep 8, 2017

There might never be a deal to end the climate wars

While everyone has assumed the Prime Minister wants to get a Clean Energy Target through his partyroom, what if his goal is actually to demonise Labor instead?

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Earlier this week, I wondered if the government’s recent strange behaviour presaged that, no matter how much Labor offered to compromise on energy and climate policy, the government will never agree to bipartisanship.

After all, Malcolm Turnbull had decided to use reports from the Australian Energy Market Operator to demand that the Liddell coal-fired power station be kept open, even though those reports explicitly and clearly showed that the risk of unserved power demand in NSW — following this long-forecast closure of Liddell — would be kept to a negligible level if there were greater investment in renewable power. The owner of Liddell, AGL, was repeatedly verballed by the Prime Minister and others and then, when it objected to being lied about, attacked by the government and by News Corp, which in league with the government has now begun one of its periodic culture wars against the company. And it’s a campaign that uses the sort of language that if Labor used it about major corporate players would be condemned with froth-mouthed fury as “class warfare” by the Coalition and the Murdoch press. Now, hilariously, the Coalition and The Australian have combined to demand that Labor “state its position” on Liddell, which will remain operational for another five years.

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13 thoughts on “There might never be a deal to end the climate wars

  1. Robert Smith

    Labor should stop proposing anything reasonable because the gov’t will always reject it.
    No matter what Turnbull puts up it will never be coal enough for a large part of his party so he is better off not doing anything substantial.

  2. Geoff Thomas

    Do we remember February 2008 when Ross Garnaut made his initial recommendations to governments? The central piece of a plan to mitigate the impact of climate change was to be an emissions trading scheme.
    The aim of the plan was to achieve effective mitigation at the lowest possible cost. The emissions trading scheme “would need to be supported by measures to correct market failures or weaknesses related to innovation, research and development, to information, and to network infrastructure.”
    Part of the move to a low Carbon economy was to be use of LNG as a transitional fuel.
    Oh, and by the way, mitigation had to be “efficient”. This meant “minimising the economic costs, and in distributing the costs of the scheme across the Australian community in ways that are broadly seen as being fair”.
    Enter Tony Abbott, and any plan that there might have been was torn down because climate change was crap.
    We got “Direct Action” which lumped the entire cost of mitigating the effects of climate change on the taxpayer.
    We got Santos and others being allowed to flog every available ton of LNG to overseas customers.
    We got the Liberal Party deciding that, notwithstanding all the advice to government, there actually was a future for something called “clean coal”.
    Worst of all we got a public policy vacuum, which has brought us to the almost laughable position we now find ourselves in as a nation
    The Prime Minister now stumbles about patching failing network infrastructure, desperately trying to reserve enough gas for Australian industries’ needs, and bullying AGL to postpone decommissioning an aging coal fired generator, the closure of which was announced by the Company two years ago.
    When is the present government going to be held to account for this?

  3. shea mcduff

    “While everyone has assumed the Prime Minister wants to get a Clean Energy Target through his partyroom ….”
    No, ‘everyone’ has not assumed any such thing.
    Maybe the CPG and its bosses and offsiders has assumed such but they do not constitute ‘everyone’ by a country mile.

  4. Steve777

    The Coalition doesn’t do ‘bipartisan’. Labor would have to abandon any meaningful clean energy target or any effective climate mitigatin measures and pledge undying loyalty to and eternal love for coal for any agreement to be possible.

  5. Paul

    Thank goodness someone in the Australian media has something other than a vacuum between their ears.

    1. CML

      Agree Paul.
      Did anyone catch that disgraceful interview of Mark Butler on Lateline last night? There was Emma Alberici carrying on like a banshee, talking over the top of her interviewee and demanding multiple times that he ‘confess’ that it was all Labor’s fault…and therefore poor little Truffles was unable to provide power to Sydney this summer…and it was down to Mark Butler to answer to the people there when the ‘blackouts’ started!!
      That is just ONE of many media personalities with ‘a vacuum between their ears’!!! It was also fake news and a distortion of the facts, Emma…you should be ashamed of yourself!!!!!!!

      1. klewso

        Contrasted to the night before’s big cheesy grinning fondue indulgence of Frydenberg? Those grins undermining the questions – how many times did she interupt him with the same tone she used on Butler? Pushing Turnbull’s barrow for him :-
        Turnbull says something “it must be true” : Labor contradictions are to be chased down and ridiculed, facts or no.
        “With respect”? It’s all in there from the tone to the sign-off.
        She uses her position to frame her partisan conservative politics – controlling the subject to fit her narrative.

      2. Dog's Breakfast

        You would have to be truly dead between the ears to think this was all Labor’s fault. What was their line of reasoning for that stunning piece of idiocy?

        Sure, Labor haven’t been brilliant and have made mistakes, but the current problems centre around the neoliberal philosophy of selling off all government business assets and creating non-markets to ramp up the price, and then sit back and watch the consumer get reamed. The very reason for the current debacle is LNP policy and denial of climate change.

        Labor’s biggest mistake, I understand that they gave approval to the Santos LNG plant without it having any actual gas to process, and they were warned that it would lead to ridiculous local prices for gas. Big error, but why did they do that? Mainly becaause they needed votes in Qld who are forever happy to put the LNP back in parliament on the promise of 50 jobs without any thought to the costs. Unfortunately Qld political calculations have given us some terrible policy. The native indians of america look like they got a good price for manhattan for a couple of blankets, comparative to how qld politics is selling Australia down for peanuts.

        Damn crazy Qld conservative voters are at the centre of some terrible policy re energy, and the LNG plants and Adani coalmine are in the top 10 for worst policy endeavours of the last 20 years. Trouble is, they blame the politicians for doing what they tell them to do. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

  6. klewso

    While Turnbull needed a deflection shield to protect Jethro from Labor’s barrage upon his legitimacy to have occupied a seat in parliament for the last 12 years and 2 months?

  7. Richard

    Why is this not all over the front pages of every news outlet not owned by the twist old poisonous prune and its cloned progeny?

  8. Richard

    If bipartisan means screwing the planet then for fucks sake, fuck bipartisan.

  9. [email protected]

    Of course Malcolm Turnbull’s government is set on demonising Labor. They’ve never had any solutions to offer because their tactics are the same as other Corporate Powers & money addicts everywhere: all energy is focussed on anti competition (ie; destroy competition rather than compete) structures. The Plan is to turn to nuclear power ‘in desperation’, after extracting every last $ from fossil fuels. Thank Gaia genuinely innovative people & businesses have ensured renewables are off and running

  10. Northy

    Yet more proof that Turnbull stands for nothing except keeping his grip on power. Pathetic.

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