Wednesday, November 04, 2020

The Australian economy will lose more than $3 trillion over the next 50 years if climate change is not addressed, according to a new report from Deloitte Access Economics

Absurd. How can anybody predict what will happen in 50 years' time? There will always be unpredicted events like the coronavirus to throw all predictions into a cocked hat.

What, for instance, would the eventual arrival of practical thermonuclear fusion bring about? Would limitless energy requiring only water as a feedstock make a difference?

Report author Pradeep Philip, who was a policy director for former prime minister Kevin Rudd, said there was also a lot to be gained if warming was kept below 1.5 degrees and Australia achieved net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

"If we do act over the next few years then in just 50 years there is a benefit to the economy of $680 billion," he said.

"We'll have an economy 2.6 per cent bigger, generating 250,000 jobs, so this tells us if you are pro-growth and pro-jobs then we need to act on climate change now.

"We know that there are new sectors around renewables, hydrogen, electric vehicles that can be created."

Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia will feel the effects most acutely, with trade, tourism and mining some of the industries most exposed to the effects of climate change.

"As things get hotter because the planet warms up, it makes it really difficult for those labour-intensive industries to work," Dr Philip said.

"If you work outside, in construction, higher average temperatures make it quite unbearable to work, so we get a loss of productivity, we get adverse health affects, and this translates across the board into retail, manufacturing, transport and mining.

Hawaii and bushfires fade as halo effect shines on Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison’s political domin­ance is such that it’s hard to conjure up circumstances that would see him lose the next election. Morrison may have been the underdog at the last election, but he’s the firm favourite at the next. Every advantage is his. Prime ministers choose the timing of federal elections, which only adds to his chances of winning, by picking the exact moment in the electoral cycle to force Labor to the polls.

The summer of 2019-20 feels like a lifetime ago now. Morrison was under pressure, having returne­d from Hawaii, caught out for trying to secretly holiday while Australia burned. On his return he struck all the wrong chords when confronted about his failure.

The Morrison of today doesn’t make those mistakes. The ups and downs of managing the pandemic have hardened him politically, but softened him in the eyes of many Australians.

The PM’s critics sometimes find that hard to accept, because all they see is the rat cunning, which to be sure is still there. There is a hint of the left’s response­ to Howard in the way Morrison’s critics spitefully hiss at him. It can leave swinging voters who aren’t enamoured with Morrison­ defending him against the worst of insults they feel are over-the-top, just as swinging ­voters did with Howard.

Australians are appreciative for where the country is at versus how other nations are struggling through COVID, and they largely give Morrison the credit for that.

Anthony Albanese and the Labor Party aren’t that many seats short of the elusive majority, but the issues aren’t running their way. Not even close. In the post-pandemic world, incumbency advantag­e is high, as long as those in power haven’t mishandled the virus. Donald Trump is the example of what happens to a leader when they do mismanage something so important.

The Coalition government certainly hasn’t failed when it comes to COVID-19, and even the few pockets of failure along the way have been glazed over in the name of applauding the wider successes Australia has enjoyed. Because it has been a global pandemic, ­comparisons with other nations are easy. Whether it’s minimising the health impacts or evading the worst of the economic downturn, compared with neighbours near and far, Australia looks pretty good.

Morrison — the master of shifting blame or absolving himself of responsibility — has been able to do exactly that each time question marks have arise about mismanagement. We almost waited too long before shutting the border to the US. The disembark­ation of the Ruby Princess was found to be a failure of the NSW Health Department. The problems in the aged-care sector in Victoria only grew because of the second wave, which became the state Labor gov­ernment’s responsibility, courtesy of its mishandling of hotel quarantining and poor contact tracing procedures.

There is little doubt aged-care problems are the closest Morrison has been to coming unstuck in this pandemic. Even then, if the problem had grown out of control, he could have cut the minister, Richard Colbeck, loose — just as he did with Bridget McKenzie when the sports rorts scandal was gaining traction.

Federal Labor is talking of “the Morrison-Frydenberg recession”, but nobody is seriously­ buying into that. Not when the recession is global in scale. To the extent that the surplu­s target was both unnecessary and perhaps even unachievable in the wake of the bushfires, COVID-19 almost instantly insul­ated the Coalition from criticism, including for its “back in black” gloating before it had even been delivered.

Labor would have been pilloried for the size and breadth of spending on schemes such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker had it delivered­ them. The conservative side of politics being so bold, in contrast, was applauded. Even the decision to wind back the payments­, while difficult for some, can be seen through the prism of encouraging people back into work and attempting a return to normality.

The bushfires saw an alarmingly quick decline in Morrison’s personal support, however, those days are over. Just like state leaders right around the country, including­ Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, the PM’s personal numbers are significantly higher than the Opposition Leader he squares off against, and his satisfaction rating is sky-high.

Criticisms of potential lost ­opportunities when it comes to reform­ in the aftermath of a crisis, while valid, will not resonate among mainstream voters. This is Morrison’s heartland, and he is savvy enough to know how to feed it red meat when he needs to. A hint of nationalism when rebuffing British PM Boris Johnson for having the temerity to suggest Australia needs to adopt zero emissions targets. A sprinkle of hope that a further lowering of taxes to help with the cost of living is just over the horizon.

The PM also knows how to instil­ fear into these voters. Don’t risk a return to Labor, he says, lest it makes a bad situation worse. This is followed up by a positive message: trust the Coalition to steer the country the rest of the way out of this pandemic. Let us finish what we started.

Labor knows it is facing an uphill­ task to be competitive at the next election, much less win it. Alread­y we are seeing signs of turf wars over unity and individual survivalism over collective hope of victory. Albanese will battle this all the way up until polling day.

Team Morrison is also well served by its campaign unit. At last year’s election, new Liberal Party federal director Andrew Hirst may have been the difference ­between victory and defeat, with his deployment of ground-game tactics and a cut-through advertising campaign targeting Bill Shorten. He is already planning his line of attack for Albanese, not to mention alternative leaders in Labor’s caucus should change happen on the eve of the election.

The one-time novice director will go into the next campaign more seasoned but still hungry for further success. Unlike in years past, the Coalition is now every bit as good as Labor at online campaigning and fundraising.

Context is everything when it comes to the next election, and the Coalition will fight that campaign having successfully steered Austra­lia through the COVID recession­ and out the other side of the pandemic. Labor could have benefited from a similar halo effect­ at the 2010 election, having survived the global financial crisis, had it not been for the fact that it removed the leader who did that just months before polling day.

There is no chance of Morrison suffering the same fate.

Merino Sisters commercial promoting Aussie wool in China goes viral reaching 230 million

The revival of the Aussie wool trade is falling on three sheep in a funny commercial for a Chinese audience that’s reached more than 230 million people.

The advertisement – in an attempt to make wool popular in China – has been viewed almost 10 million times and has had more than 230 million impressions.

The marketing campaign explains the benefits of wool to a Chinese audience with Chinese celebrity Loura Lou interviewing three Merino sheep.

Funded by the Australian Wool Innovation’s The Woolmark Company, the Merino Sisters campaign is aimed at making “prestigious Merino wool” popular in China in an attempt to increase exports of the Aussie fibre.

The campaign featured on China’s huge online shopping platform, Tmall, and has generated more than 230 million impressions and 9.9 million video views.

The teaser post by Loura Lou ranked up two million views in less than 24 hours on Weibo.

“I’ve met the rich and famous and I’m never impressed … but the Merinos?” Ms Lou says in the video before she talks to the sheep.

AWI made the call back in March at the height of the coronavirus pandemic to pull out a global campaign as exports of the fibre dropped.

Exports of Aussie wool has dropped to about 2 to 3 per cent in India and Italy, which was previously taking about 5 per cent of the export.

However, China takes about 80 per cent of our Aussie wool.

Coronavirus: Climate change effects not stopped by pandemic?

The harshest impacts of climate change are still devastating the world's environments despite the coronavirus pandemic bringing the world to a halt in 2020, a UN report says.

South Korean policymaker Soyoung Lee, an MP with the ruling Democratic party, said: “Korea’s 2050 net-zero announcement will encourage other countries which are still deliberating over a 2050 target year, especially considering that Korea is still heavily reliant on the manufacturing industry and other high-carbon industries.”

This week the world’s fifth-largest emitter, Japan, pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, following China’s commitment to hit carbon neutrality by 2060.

The European Union, which has also set a net-zero emissions target by 2050, has proposed a carbon border tax that could see high-emissions exports hit with an import levy.

The EU's Foreign Affairs chief Josep Borrell on Friday said China's "announcement could be a tipping point in the global fight against climate change."

"The simple fact that China acknowledges the dramatic threat of climate change and that we need more action is of paramount importance," he said.




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