10 Years of Political Failure - Alienates a Generation
Stephen Fitzgerald  

Updated 26th September 2020


So, let’s help them with the political sword called the truth…

Australia’s most senior former public servants and scientists reveal their anger about climate policy failure. View 4 Corners “Climate Wars” (45 min). The end result of politicising a disaster is a bigger disaster! The conservative pro fossil fuel v progressive climate action clash divides families, generations and the country.

After two years of school strikes, the world is still in a state of climate crisis denial so lets help them:-

On 18th March 2020 I sent an email to every media outlet, editor and federal politician in the country (it's called planting seeds) as follows: - "Our global leaders are listening to the experts when it comes to a medical emergency impacting the sick and elderly but, refuse to listen to the experts when it comes to catastrophic climate change threatening all of humanity and the natural world?" 

 

That message has been picked up and is now starting to cut through with the government being held to account. Headline: "Government listening to science on both corona-virus and climate change, Angus Taylor says". Alan Jones's mate Climate Minister Angus Taylor was seen (rightly or wrongly) as a "pro-coal climate change denier" before the corona-virus hit and the coalition were then forced to listen to the experts.  

 

It's not too difficult to work out what's been going on, up until now. Once again, the LNP are the political arm of big business and the biggest business on the planet is the fossil fuel industry. To protect that industry Angus Taylor has promoted climate denial even to the point of undermining the science at the GOP25 United Nations climate talks. The point now is that Angus Taylor said he listens to the science on climate change and, collectively, we need to push that point and hold him to his word.

 

The climate science experts say that coal is out of the question to save us from global warming and catastrophic climate change so, as an alternative, the LNP have turned to promoting fracking the gas out of Australia as the lesser of two evils to generate power. Ignoring that Australia's environment is already in an unsustainable state of decline and you can add to that, 'Recipe for extinction': why the governments rush to change environment laws is sparking widespread concern!

As pointed out by ABC business editor Ian Verrender: It's worth noting that Australia is the largest gas exporter on the planet subsidised by Australian consumers who pay double the going international rate for the privilege of using their own locally produced gas. If you want a "gas led recovery" Mr Morrison, force the three major players: Santos, Origin and Shell to deliver gas into the Australian market at market prices. Or lose their export license's and then be forced to deliver cheaper energy to Australian businesses and homes as suggested by the ACCC

Australia's Chief Scientist is wrong on gas, say leading experts. A group of 25 Australians scientists and co-authors with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have written to "denounce" Australian Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel’s qualified support for gas as having a “critical” role in decarbonising Australia. How can it when gas adds to the global warming problem and, the big question then becomes: "Who is influencing Scott Morrison on the right, Joel Fitzgibbon on the left, and our chief scientist in the middle?". As asset managers dump fossil fuel.

 

If you would like glaringly obvious proof of how manipulated the LNP Morrison government has become, look no further than Scott Morrison’s hand picked gas-stacked National COVID-19 Commission advising government to underwrite gas pipelines with taxpayer money ($6 billion of tax-payers money to be exact). It’s no surprise that a Commission stacked with gas executives is recommending policies that would waste public money on stranded gas projects and are refusing basic information to the public. The admission that a gas executive is secretly reporting directly to the Prime Minister is deeply troubling, shows a complete disregard for normal democratic checks and balances and bypasses freedom of information laws.

The 'gas led recovery' initiative marks a new high point in Coalition hypocrisy about free markets, small government and “backing winners” etc. In a despicably bad way, Morrison is taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to push the fossil fuel agenda. The big money driving this type of corruption are the large corporations already invested in gas and the people proposing to replace existing gas pipeline networks and build new pipelines all over Australia. As an example, people like Donald Trumps oil pipeline billionaire mate and sponsor Kelcy Warren.  

 

Mr Morrison need to keep firmly in mind that providing jobs is the main priority of Covid-19 recovery spending. However, gas is capital
intensive and job poor. It is one of the least labour intensive industries (PDF file) in the entire economy. Nothing has really changes and a gas fired recovery will only benefit gas producers, gas infrastructure builders and gas suppliers. The end result is massive profit to the fossil fuel industry, no discernible increase in jobs or power savings, the wide scale destruction of Australian ecosystems and no reduction in atmospheric CO2 concentration since producing and burning natural gas exacerbates the problem.

 

All sponsored by Australian tax payers thanks to our illustrious PM. So, it's just another big con-job by Scott Morrison and the LNP designed to protect the fossil fuel industry and avoid getting serious about assisting their main competitor called the renewable clean energy industry. So much then for listening to the experts Mr Angus Taylor!

Grattan Institute's energy program, Tony Wood, says the government's claim that 1000 megawatts of new dispatchable capacity is needed isn't supported by the advice from its own Liddell taskforce. More generally, Wood argues the idea of a gas–led recovery "is a mirage". He says east coast gas prices are unlikely to fall to very low levels and anyway, even very low prices would not stimulate major economic activity. "Investing in more gas infrastructure in the face of climate change looks more like a herd of stampeding white elephants," is Wood's blunt assessment.

It's worth noting that Mr Morrison blundered his response to the 'Black Summer' bush-fire crisis by not listening to the experts. It would have been political suicide to back that up by not listening to the experts in relation to the pandemic. The success of listening to the experts needs to continue through to climate science although, by pushing more fossil fuel, I'm not seeing that. With the climate heating up, as California turns to ash, so is the political debate. Morrison’s calamity is about locking in gas for another 30 years or, Australia could use the recovery from Covid-19 to lock in a genuine transition to the fuels of the future. We won't mention who's buying Morrison's favour although, this informative article by Tim Flannery sheds some light...

The megafires and pandemic expose the lies that frustrate action on climate change

Time is now so short that we cannot wait for the next Australian election for action. It is the Morrison government that must act decisively if Australia is to do its part in averting this looming climate disaster.


What is holding back progress, most strongly, is the $80bn that corporations have invested in domestic gas infrastructure. Acting on the climate emergency would mean that these corporations will face huge losses. In ignoring the climate scientists and investing so heavily in gas they have made a bad economic bet but are unwilling to face the consequences. This is where Scott Morrison steps up to put fossil fuel ahead of his own country, the natural world, civilization and the planet.

The Morrison governments self interest is best explained in Game of Mates - How Favour's Bleed The Nation by Murray and Frijters. Crony capitalism is an economic system characterised by mutually beneficial relationships between politicians and business owners. It's a game of lies and corruption and, clearly explains why the gap between the rich and poor is growing in this country. It explains the force that drives the LNP Morrison government and it's not about democratic principals of what's best for Australia with the "gas led recovery" myth, as a prime example.


Interwoven with self-interest, the Morrison government suffers from a thick strand of climate denialism that feeds on tribalism and wilful ignorance. How they can keep a straight face in public and sleep at night has got me beat. Tragically, the news from the climate scientists is getting worse and worse. Increasingly, many experts are viewing 2021, and specifically the UN climate change conference to be held in Glasgow late that year, as humanity’s last chance to avoid an environmental apocalypse. If there was a moment of true emergency in the fight to preserve our climate, it's now.

I just really hate the deceit... Zali Steggall, independent federal MP for Warringah points out that the Morrison government has 'captain picked' the technology of gas, whilst blackmailing private companies on an economic decision that is widely condemned by scientists, economists and investors. This is completely against any kind of free market liberalism and shows how far Scott Morrison is willing to go to support fossil fuels over sound economic management and jobs. We have a government that is willing to ignore that renewables deliver more than double the jobs than fossil fuels, as well as disregarding the best professional and expert advice.

 

With oil, gas and coal we plunder an area, destroy the environment, then burn the fossil fuel to pollute our atmosphere, drive global heating, and like a locust plague we move on to plunder the next area. With renewable clean energy we set up wind turbines, solar, hydro, battery storage and green hydrogen power in an area to produce ongoing sustainable energy with no need to move on and no need to keep plundering and destroying new areas. That's why renewable clean energy is called sustainable.

 

The government needs to be reminded that their first priority is to protect society and, protecting us from catastrophic climate change should be at the top of the list. Then, governments obligation is providing the best possible services at the best possible price and then affordable education available to everyone. Nowhere woven into that equation is pursuing a politicians private agenda, at the expense of a nation and our children's future. The possible collapse of civilization is not worth the risk.

Go to the next article: Using Australia as a pawn

SteveFitz is an artist painting a vivid picture, a humanitarian and activist

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