Wednesday 1st of December 2021

the gnats agree to "no emissions " by 2050...


Consistency, persistence and stubbornness. They can be tremendous virtues, so long as you are sure you are right.

And, if you're not, then as economist John Maynard Keynes is said to have stated: "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?"

National Party leader Barnaby Joyce and his key lieutenants may finally have capitulated after months of internal bickering over whether to endorse a carbon emissions reduction target at the upcoming climate summit in Glasgow.

The last-minute deal was short on detail, with vague mentions of regional jobs and uranium but nothing on renewables.

In the process, the party has left itself exposed, with climate and energy policies increasingly at odds with those who live, operate and invest outside the capitals, including its rural constituents and, in particular, the world's biggest miners.

Just compare these two announcements from last Thursday.


"We have not said we are doing this," Mr Joyce told reporters in Canberra when questioned over whether the party would support Prime Minister Scott Morrison's proposed net zero target.

"That decision is yet to be made.

"I'm sure everyone understands that it's not a foregone conclusion that the Nationals agree to this, not by a long shot."

A few hours earlier, Rio Tinto's recently minted chief executive, Jakob Stausholm, was saying exactly the opposite. The miner, he announced, would spend $10 billion to treble its 2030 carbon reduction targets from 15 per cent to 50 per cent within the next nine years.

"We have a clear pathway to decarbonise our business and are actively developing technologies that will enable our customers and our customers' customers to decarbonise," he said.

Rio Tinto is Australia's biggest iron ore exporter and one of the world's largest aluminium producers. The decisions made in its boardroom, along with BHP and Fortescue Metals — both of which also have jumped headlong into a low emissions future — have rendered the petty bickering and posturing from Canberra irrelevant.


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net zeroes...

Australia will make a formal pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 after Nationals MPs backed the goal in a tense meeting on Sunday that cleared the way for policies within days to adopt cleaner fuels, electric vehicles, and more renewable energy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to ask federal cabinet to endorse the target on Monday and finalise a policy package with measures such as investments in hydrogen energy and rewards for farmers to offset emissions. The package will be revealed before he departs on Thursday for a G20 meeting in Rome and a United Nations climate summit in Glasgow where he will be asked to commit to net zero.

But Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce refused to reveal the conditions he had gained from Mr Morrison over the weekend to secure the agreement, leaving the cost of the deal to be confirmed after cabinet has set the target.

The policy package is expected to forecast more use of electric vehicles in a reversal from the Coalition rhetoric from its attacks on Labor for proposing more EV use less than three years ago, highlighting the wider shift inside the government on climate policy.


Mr Joyce told Mr Morrison of the outcome shortly after a meeting of the Nationals party room ended on Sunday with a majority accepting the target while demanding concessions for regional Australia.

While a core group of Nationals objected to the net zero target, the goal had enough support to allow Mr Joyce to seal an agreement with Mr Morrison and clear the way for new climate change forecasts and policy measures to be revealed after Parliament resumes on Monday.


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blind-tasting the pork...

This skewers the government’s climate policy (“The Nationals get reward for agreeing to harm the regions”, October 25). Firstly, how are these “boondoggles” going to be paid for, if not through higher taxes on the rest of us? So much for “technology, not taxes”.

- David Rush, Lawson



I find it curious that the Nationals, who once talked about a carbon price being too expensive, have found it within themselves to extract tens of billions for the net zero pledge (“Nation to go carbon neutral by 2050”, October 25). It’s strange that once upon a time, the polluters paid the taxpayer, now taxpayers are paying the polluters. It’s clear we’re doing it wrong.

- Jasper Lee, Ashfield



Barnaby Joyce wanted to see the menu before signing up to any carbon reduction policy. He said nobody would sit down to lunch if they didn’t know how much the meals cost. But he now says Australian voters have to eat whatever it is he has ordered without knowing the cost, or what the meal is or what the options were.

- Dave Snell, Enmore



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