Climate policy must not be baffled once again
The groundswell of climate concerns in this election is rightly recognised, but the Greens’ claims of a certain parliamentary ‘supermajority’ are overcooked. Labor and the coalition have effectively implemented a climate truce, but with Labor differences now becoming very significant. Both aimed for the same goal of net zero by 2050. The work will do sooner, with a target of 43% reduction by 2030. It will strengthen the safeguard mechanism, a de facto trading system that obliges 215 big polluters to buy offsets or carbon. credits above a reference level. This replaces a true economy-wide carbon tax and, for this reason, the Financial analysis think it should be applied to more companies as the cheapest way to reduce emissions.
If the government wanted to enshrine its target in law, it would have to negotiate with the Senate Greens who want a 70% target, although Labor believes it can execute most of its policy without legislation. Greens looking for a perfect rather than a good solution also sunk Kevin Rudd’s emissions trading scheme in the Senate in 2009 and sparked Australia’s lost decade of climate war. The Greens should be acutely aware of repeating this folly. Only the private sector can truly drive decarbonization, and it needs confidence that the rules will survive under successive governments.
And the Labor Party also has a mandate to maintain growth and prosperity in Australia. This must be the framework in which the energy transition takes place. A bridge to the future needs two ends to support it. As renewables take over, the ever-shrinking fossil fuel base cannot be forced to collapse prematurely. The world is already starkly reminded of this as the war in Ukraine results in a huge spike in demand for fossil fuels, which Australia can hardly ignore: the projected $126 billion increase in tax revenue over four years will be needed to protect the country as energy price inflation hits here too.
By 2050, global electricity demand will have doubled, but a disorderly end to fossil fuels will destroy investor confidence in the broader energy sector that is needed for this change, and jeopardize support for the audience. Excessive restrictions on mining will drive up the cost of metals needed for electrification. The Australian green energy superpower of hydrogen and batteries that Anthony Albanese talked about in his acceptance speech is within reach, but eliminating the support of the energy and carbon resources industry won’t do us any harm. will not approach. He will simply lead him to a less scrupulous place.
Labor expects 80% of electricity generation to be renewable by its interim target in 2030, not far off the Morrison government’s forecast. But there are few details about the changes to the save mechanism. Labor has also proposed a new $20 billion company to rebuild and connect the grid to new renewable energy sources, but with no published costs. By this stage, the new Rudd government had already commissioned Ross Garnaut’s climate change review, with green and white papers published a year later. The green transition is a colossal undertaking. The Albanian government must remove it from its small list of targets as soon as possible and tell us what its real plans are.