Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Labor sets up a clash with the Greens on climate change

Labor has set up a clash with the Greens on climate change in a bid to assure voters it will not change its 43 per cent target to cut greenhouse gas emissions if it wins the election, insisting the Parliament would have to pass the goal or vote it down.

Anxious to quash a scare campaign about a higher target, Labor climate spokesman Chris Bowen ruled out a negotiation with the Greens on the figure in the event of a hung Parliament despite Coalition claims he would have to overhaul his policy.

Mr Bowen also rebuffed calls from the Greens to close coal-fired power stations and phase out coal exports by arguing nothing in the Labor policy would bring forward closures or hurt exporters who were exposed to competition from overseas.

The Labor pledge is to introduce a bill to Parliament that specifies the 43 per cent cut in emissions by 2030 on the levels of 2005 and to refuse to accept changes by the Greens, with the lower house rejecting amendments to the target in the Senate.

The Labor stance seeks to avoid repeating the party’s deal with the Greens in 2010, when the Gillard government legislated a price on carbon after ruling out a carbon tax before the election, and challenges the Greens to avoid a repeat of a pivotal vote in 2009 when the minor party vetoed an emissions trading scheme because it wanted a more ambitious policy.

Asked if Labor would negotiate on the target to secure support from the Greens, Mr Bowen said: “No.”

Labor is promising to make its target a formal commitment to the United Nations if it wins power, saying it is willing to legislate the goal while the Coalition could not do the same because conservatives would block a bill that cemented increasing the government’s 26 to 28 per cent target to its forecast 35 per cent emissions reduction by 2030.

But with Greens leader Adam Bandt calling for a 75 per cent cut in emissions by that year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison claimed a Labor government would have to give in to the Greens on climate.

“For Labor to legislate if they were to form government they would have to do that with the support of the Greens,” he said, while campaigning in the seat of Wentworth in eastern Sydney.

“So 43 per cent is just the opening bid for Labor. And you know what the Greens’ target is, it’s 75 per cent. So vote Labor, you vote Greens and you vote for the Greens targets.”

Mr Morrison was reminded of the disagreements within his backbench, however, when a journalist asked if he backed a call from Dave Sharma, the Liberal member for Wentworth, to cut emissions by 40 to 45 per cent by 2035.

“That’s not the government’s policy. I respect Dave’s commitment to this area,” Mr Morrison said.

In the first lengthy explanation of the Labor plan since it was announced last Friday, Mr Bowen said the modelling for the policy assumed the government could only achieve a 30 per cent reduction by 2030 and the additional Labor measures would take the figure to 43 per cent and no further.

Mr Bowen rejected speculation the Labor target would rise to 48 per cent in the event the government was able to reach the upper range of its stated 30 to 35 per cent forecast.

While Greenpeace and the Greens have dismissed the goal as too low, Australian National University professor Mark Howden said the number was in line with the agreement at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow last month to cut emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 on the levels of 2010.

Professor Howden, the director of the ANU Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions, said the 43 per cent reduction against the 2005 numbers meant a total reduction of 267.84 million tonnes since 2005. The UN goal meant a total reduction of 269.59 million tonnes from 2010.

“So the amount of reduction in emissions in absolute terms that these two policies/goals require is almost identical, and so it is fair to say that the Labor Party emission reduction policy is in accord with the Glasgow Pact of 45 per cent reductions against 2010 emissions by 2030,” he said.

The modelling for the Labor policy, conducted by economics firm RepuTex, says the policy would create 64,000 direct and 540,000 indirect jobs by 2030 and triggered a claim from former ACTU president Jennie George in The Australian that the figure was “so high as to make it unbelievable” because the multiplier effect was too great.

Mr Bowen rejected that complaint and said the modelling applied a multiplier in each sector of the economy rather than across the board.

“There’s direct jobs, there’s indirect jobs and of course there’s job impacts from just the improved energy supply,” he said. “But that modelling stands up to scrutiny from anyone.”

Asked how many jobs would be lost, Mr Bowen said the modelling showed a total gain.

“As a result of Labor’s policies, not one,” he said. “The modelling makes clear Labor’s policies create jobs. The modelling also accepts the government’s modelling that global decarbonisation is going to have an impact on Australia.”

Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the difference in the two goals, from the government’s 35 per cent forecast to Labor’s 43 per cent target, required “very significant” policies including a carbon tax on industry. Labor has ruled out a carbon tax.


Australian farm production tipped to break records this financial year

Another step away from the food shortages that Greenies are always predicting

Australian farmers will break records this year as the value and volume of their food and fibre climbs to historic highs, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

With the price of grain climbing and unprecedented prices being paid at livestock sales all year, ABARES analysts have raised their forecast for total farm production to $78 billion this financial year.

Exports are also tipped to hit a record-breaking $61 billion.

The increased value of production is being driven in large part by the poor seasonal conditions experienced by competitors like Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Argentina, and the United States.

Those conditions have dented the supply of wheat, barley and canola, driving prices up.

The substantial volumes of production have not been badly affected by the recent heavy rain and floods in New South Wales and Queensland.

The main impact of the wet weather will be to downgrade the quality of the crop, from human to animal-grade feed.

The La NiƱa conditions on the east coast will set farmers up for another good year in 2022, filling the soil with moisture, keeping irrigation water costs low and ensuring there is plenty of feed growing for livestock.

But farmers will face higher prices to grow their crops with prices for fuel, fertiliser, and farm chemicals all rising.

Despite this, ABARES tips farm cash income to hit a record $30.6 billion, off the back of the larger volumes of food and fibre produced in 2021-2022.

In a separate analysis, Rabobank predicts the rising cost of key farming inputs will constrain production next year.

The specialist food and agribusiness bank warned this would add to the inflation of food prices and could lead to social unrest.


Federal district launches interest-free loans for electric cars to boost uptake

Drivers in the Australian Capital Territory can now apply for zero-interest loans designed to boost the uptake of electric vehicles, as industry groups call for similar programs to be adopted across the country.

The loans will be available under the ACT government’s sustainable household scheme, which offers interest-free loans for solar panels, battery storage technology and other sustainable equipment. Electric vehicles were added to the program on Monday.

Anyone who holds a valid ACT driving licence or owns a home in the territory can apply for 10-year zero-interest loans of up to $15,000. This in addition to other benefits such as a stamp duty exemption for new electric vehicle purchases.

Shane Rattenbury, the ACT minister for water, energy and emissions reduction, said the territory wanted to send a strong signal it was embracing the transition to electric cars, both domestically and to carmakers abroad.

“The key message here for the external audience is for automakers to say – look at Canberra, get the vehicles into the ACT,” he said.

“We’ve got a keen market here. We know people want to purchase these vehicles. We need to see more models at lower prices.”

Rattenbury, who drives an electric vehicle, said the federal government “has not been strong supporters of EVs” so it was important for state and territory governments to make their intentions clear.

“Nationally, we do have a problem,” Rattenbury. “When you talk to the automakers, they’re hesitant to bring vehicles to Australia because they’re unclear about government policy.”

The program is being organised in a staged process with a small number of electric vehicle suppliers participating initially. More will be added over time.

Dr Jake Whitehead, head of policy at the Electric Vehicle Council, welcomed the development, saying it could save drivers thousands of dollars in interest payments and improve access to electric cars.

“If you own an EV long enough, it’s a cheaper option over time,” he said.

“What this loan facility enables you to do is get those savings up front.”

Energy company AGL calculated the cost of running an electric vehicle and found it was $1,346 cheaper than running a petrol car, although this result can change depending on location and whether solar panels are used to charge.

Whitehead called for interest-free loans to be rolled out across Australia, but said additional policies must also be introduced as well to supercharge uptake.


Absurd Climate of fear

The wonderful thing about Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese promising to propel the nation towards a net zero emissions target at a point in time somewhere over the rainbow is that neither of them are going to be around when these magical years are finally upon us.

In the finest traditions of the ­political art they can promise whatever they want, safe in the knowledge that it’s a fanciful figure plucked from the air and designed to shimmer like a distant mirage for the duration of the election campaign.

Climate change has become political capital and Labor and the Coalition are now both fixated upon being seen to be doing something – anything – to save the nation from the apocalypse that we are assured, thanks to computer modelling, threatens it.

The Climate Council’s Tim ­Flannery knows a thing or two about computer modelling, having ­confidently predicted that drought conditions would become permanent in eastern Australia.

“Water is going to be in short ­supply across the eastern states,” he warned. “One morning in the not-too-distant future in one of the major cities, taps will be turned on and instead of water, there will only be a whistling in the pipes. Not a drop. ­Totally dry,” he announced.

I turned on the taps at our place last week as the rain pelted down and indeed there was a whistle. It turned out to be the kettle.

Next year, and the PM and the Opposition Leader must hope that it will occur before polling day to vindicate their shining net zero targets, the Arctic ice cap will disappear.

We know this because back in 2005, Mr Flannery peered into his computer screen and announced that within 15 years, the ice cap would melt.

It stubbornly refused to do so last year, covering an area of 14 million square kilometres, so if our man Flannery is right then apart from whistling taps, 2022 is going to be the year of the Big Melt.

The Royal Scottish Geographical Society was unfazed by the dogged refusal of the Arctic ice to disappear and recently gave Mr Flannery a medal for his “dogged determination” to communicate the critical science of climate change. Well done, sir!


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)


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