Sunday, January 16, 2022

Viewed from the Hill: Morrison’s Zero Zero Plan is Based More on Policy than Detailed Policy

Boris Johnson was delighted with the Morrison government’s belated adoption of the 2050 target. “The Australians, the Australians, have done a heroic deed in fulfilling this commitment,” Johnson said.

“[It] in fact it was very difficult for Australia … because Australia is very dependent on coal and many carbon industries. “

Scott Morrison enjoyed the praise of the British Prime Minister. However, the term “heroic” can be attributed to the plan he and Energy Secretary Angus Taylor unveiled on Tuesday in a less vivid sense.

This plan is based on many “heroic” assumptions that may or may not be reasonable.

Of course, given a three-decade time frame, any roadmap must be questionable because it is impossible to predict accurately that far ahead. But the small details of the plan’s assumptions are important, and the government has yet to publish the simulations.

The plan, which does not contain a new policy, is built on a narrative that can be more easily and immediately appreciated, and this narrative is false.

Morrison’s claim that the plan is based on “technology, not taxes” is a sophistry designed for political warfare, not political truth.

The “technological” side is quite correct, but there are a lot of “taxes” there. The government boasts a multi-billion dollar investment in technology. This applies to taxpayer funds.

Indeed, in its reaction to the plan, the Carbon Market Institute lamented that “taxpayers, not businesses, will remain the main driving force with $ 20 billion dedicated to transition.”

More: Morrison’s climate plan contains a “projection” of 35% emission reductions by 2030, but the modeling behind the 2050 target has yet to be released

Morrison also likes to give the impression that this massive transition to a cleaner economy can be relatively painless. But this is also a delusion.

Obviously, we must move towards a low emission future for environmental and economic reasons, and this will open up many opportunities in the form of new industries and jobs. But there will be costs – for industries, businesses and individuals.

There is a useful comparison with Australia’s tariff cuts in the 1980s and early 1990s.

As with net-zero, the world was the hand in making Australia open and reform. As a result, structural changes have brought long-term benefits to the economy and households.

But at the same time, some industries fell into decay, businesses collapsed, and workers lost their jobs. Some have been retrained; others never got to their feet. Inevitably, big economic restructuring has winners and losers, an old history of pain, and gains.

Morrison doesn’t publicly focus on the losers, but he does at the Nationals. Climate change denial drives the attitudes of some citizens, but they are also deeply concerned about the reactions of their base, particularly in mining areas.

After the noisy implementation of the package of guarantees and compromises that citizens received, it remains unclear.

More: View from the Hill: Will Barnaby Joyce be less “on board” at zero when in the backyard?

The Productivity Commission will review the progress of the plan every five years. And the minor party of the Coalition received an additional seat in the cabinet of ministers.

In addition, sources at Nationals selling the deal point to two things. Firstly, this plan is not subject to legislative consolidation and does not provide for government actions to close the coal or any other raw materials industry. The fate of these industries remains at the discretion of the market.

Secondly, they say that some specific measures will be announced later.

Postponing these announcements does seem like an odd tactic after citizens so badly needed visible guarantees. The line doesn’t really explain what needs to go through the cabinet processes.

The sordid spectacle of getting citizens to agree to the plan has dealt a blow to Barnaby Joyce, who becomes acting prime minister after Morrison leaves for the G20 and Glasgow late Thursday night.

Joyce’s concern is evident as he is painfully stuck between his past vocal rejection of net-zero and his current enforced public acceptance of it.

He fought the prime minister and his colleagues during the coalition talks. He fights during questions. And he will fight for his seats in Queensland.

Boris Johnson’s rage over Australia suggests he is making it easier for Morrison to travel to Glasgow next week. Australia’s position to 2030 – using an updated “outlook” rather than an updated “target” – may cause some backlash as 2030 has become the main focus of COP26. On the other hand, Australia plays a bit.

More: Coalition drops out in Newspall; Australia is not taking enough action to tackle climate change

Now that the government’s plan, however inadequate it may be, has not been implemented, attention will be drawn to the Laborites.

It is clear that Anthony Albanese waited for the release of the opposition policy after Glasgow. He cannot avoid this moment any longer.

In general, Labor has no particular politics in the public arena. If he takes the climate issue as seriously as he claims, he needs to find an alternative before Christmas.

Workers can easily promise to legislate goals. Moreover, for Albanese, the challenge is to position opposition politics to be different from coalition politics – which means being more ambitious – but not so radical as to make Labor a dangerously large target.

Finding this golden spot will not be easy for Albanese, especially if there is some internal disagreement about exactly where it is.

This article is republished from – The Conversation – Read the – original article.

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