Scott Morrison coal climate emergency
(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

ALL SPIN, NO WIN

Scott Morrison has stared down an historic pledge by Joe Biden to halve US emissions by 2030, news.com.au reports, to instead defend Australia’s emissions history and stick to Tony Abbott’s target of 26-28% below 2005 levels.

Other announcements prior to or during the climate summit included: Xi Jinping’s pledge that China’s coal use would peak in 2025 and the country would achieve carbon neutrality before 2060; Japan to increase their 2030 target from 28% to 46% by 2030; Canada to move from 30% to 40-45% for 2030; the UK pledging 78% by 2035; and South Korea pledging to stop financing coal overseas.

But despite pressure from White House officials over Australia’s “insufficient” climate policies leading up to the summit, Morrison managed to pack some truly impressive spin into his address:

  • He boasted that Australia has already reduced our emissions by 19% on 2005 levels (gains almost entirely made between 2008 to the end of the carbon price in 2014, after which emissions increased to record highs in 2019);
  • Bumped that figure up to 36% “when you exclude exports”, which is not how emissions work;
  • Compared California’s Silicon Valley to Australia’s “hydrogen valley”;
  • Claimed Australia is “on the pathway to net zero”. A pathway that, according to clean tech researcher Ketan Joshi’s extrapolation of emissions projections released last year, would last until 2294;
  • And argued that journey is “being led by Fortescue, BHP, Rio Tinto and AGL,” four of Australia’s largest emitters.

Morrison did however suggest the Coalition will update its climate policy ahead of the Glasgow summit in November, and while Paris climate goals would require Australia to aim for something closer to 50% by 2030 this is more likely that forever-winked-at 2050 target of net zero. Which Australia will actually already have by default thanks to every state and territory and, as Joshi explained at RenewEconomy, still offers the Morrison government plenty of avenues of delay.

PS: For more on the climate fight, see Malcolm Turnbull and Sarah Hanson-Young duke it out with Resources Minister Keith Pitt on Q+A or, more unusually, Kochie call out some of Angus Taylor’s furphies yesterday.

EASY AZ

National cabinet has agreed to fast-track the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout for people older than 50, the ABC explains, while incoming flights from India will be reduced by 30% following a record surge in the country and a spike in returned passengers testing positive in Australia.

State-run clinics will offer the AstraZeneca drug to over 50s from May 3 and at GP clinics from May 17, while the restructure means those over 50 will not be able to get a Pfizer vaccine until the end of the year.

Elsewhere, Trade Minister Dan Tehan has said the European Union will not block the export of 1 million AstraZeneca vaccines to Papua New Guinea, while The Sydney Morning Herald reports Port Botany workers have been tested after boarding a ship on which 12 crew members later tested positive.

Additionally, six people in Victoria have been tested as close contacts of a possible transmission inside a Sydney quarantine hotel, and the state will unveil three more mass vaccination hubs in Heidelberg, Sunshine, and Ballarat from Friday.

PS: News of the changes about flights from India is curious in that, much like that hot minute Christmas Island was used for returned travellers from China, country-specific travel measures were not deployed when the US, the UK, or Europe were hotbeds for COVID-19.

BY GEORGE! BYE GEORGE

Finally, Mackay’s anti-Safe Schools, anti-abortion, pro-Julian Assange, quote-unquote “Member for Manila” George Christensen has announced he will not contest the next federal election.

Guardian Australia reports that the Dawson MP will step down to spend more time with his family (including his wife who recently returned from being stuck overseas during the pandemic), and who in a statement claimed Australia’s “broken” politics was “dominated by an activist mainstream media along with other leftists cultural institutions that are just so disconnected from the public”.

PS: It would be interesting to know what, exactly, Christensen meant by that last line, considering News Corp controls 59% of newspaper readership in Australia.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

We do have a tough policy and that’s how we’ve kept the people smugglers out of business. But — but! — there’s a difference between scratching your ear and ripping it off, as my late father used to say. And you need to have some subtlety, you need to have some compassion, you need to have some humanity.

That family should be back in Queensland, and I hope the minister takes the opportunity of the change of minister — she’s the new minister — and she can now look at the file anew, use her discretion, and bring them back to Queensland to the community that wants them. And that would be the right thing to do.

Malcolm Turnbull

The prime minister who oversaw the 2018 dawn raid of the Biloela family of four and their detention until his ousting supports an end to their suffering, but not of the policies that put them there. As does Kristina Keneally, as she’s told us in two separate op-eds Wednesday.

CRIKEY RECAP

Morrison is right to nix Andrews’ China frolic. Now time to boycott the Beijing games

“After months of deliberating on state and territory agreements with foreign countries, the Morrison government finally last night moved to axe Daniel Andrews’ Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with China, announcing that the Memorandum of Understanding and Framework Agreement between Victoria and China would be among four deals cancelled under the Foreign Arrangements Scheme.

“The other two deals were also Victorian deals: a Kennett government deal with Syria and a Bracks government deal with Iran.”


The Chaser’s war on News Corp has cost the media giant hundreds of thousands of dollars

“Long ago, The Chaser declared war on News Corp Australia for its culture-warring, climate-change-denying ways.

“Before they tricked News Corp into reporting on a fake petition about fairy bread being ‘cancelled”’ the satirical publication’s team dreamed up a plan to help readers hit the company where it really hurts: its bottom line.

“In 2019, The Chaser started cancelling subscriptions on behalf of people who were fed up with News Corp.”


The known, the unknowns and everything bizarre about that milkshake video

“There is still a lot to be learned about those bizarre consent videos and associated content released last week. The Good Society website, which hosts more than 350 resources to teach school-aged kids about sex, consent and relationships, cost an eye-watering $3.79 million, funded by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE). It took up more than half the funding allocated to Respect Matters launched in 2015.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Queensland passes new youth justice legislation in crime crackdown aimed at ‘hardcore’ young offenders

World’s oceans changing as currents show new patterns

Budget to roll over tax offset for low earners ($)

SA Police reveal identity of man and baby girl who died at Whispering Wall

Christine Holgate engages leading lawyers over Australia Post dispute

The Australian Financial Review issues an apology for false claims made by columnists about ISignthis boss John Karantzis ($)

Crowds at Anzac Day dawn services plummet due to ‘waning interest’ of younger Australians

CFMEU and officials hit with $1m in penalties ($)

Western Australian Institute of Sport preparing to respond to allegations of abuse in gymnastics program ($)

Russia arrests ‘more than 1700’ over pro-Navalny protests

Namibia: Indigenous leaders want big oil out of Kavango Basin

THE COMMENTARIAT

The long, long, long list of all the times that Scott Morrison has said ‘it’s not my job’Nadine von Cohen (The Shot): “Learning rape is bad has clearly been an exhausting task for Scott Morrison. Making matters harder, while on this journey of discovery he’s had to not do a lot of things people seem to want him to do. Firstly there was not reading a dossier on an alleged rape, not contacting the victim of another alleged rape, nor firing anyone involved in its abysmal handling and cover-up.”

The decision to cancel Victoria’s Belt and Road agreement was the right oneEditorial (The Sydney Morning Herald): “The Australian government’s sensible decision to scrap Victoria’s controversial Belt and Road agreement with China was always a given from the moment the federal Parliament passed the new foreign relations laws in December. What was also a given was China’s reaction. A Chinese embassy spokesman was quick to admonish the Morrison government for ‘another unreasonable and provocative move taken by the Australian side against China’. He also made clear there would be consequences: ‘It is bound to bring further damage to bilateral relations, and [Australia] will only end up hurting itself.’”

They say justice, we say murderChelsea Watego (Meanjin): “While Pelosi’s comments were rightly deemed ‘bizarre’, ‘heinous’, ‘tone deaf’ and ‘wrong’, she did reveal a certain truth about the violence of justice in the white imagining, even in moments of its supposed arrival for Black people. As a Blackfulla watching from so-called Australia, Pelosi’s words did not appear to be the simple matter of a poor turn of phrase. In a society predicated on an ensconced settler imagination in which we were ‘destined to die out’, a justice that is articulated as ‘synonymous’ with Black death is not lost on us.”

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