This week kicked off with an episode of ABC TV’s Q&A program, which set out to debate science vs religious belief and wound up raising the question of whether we could believe anything Australian politicians have to say about climate change and action.
It also featured Christine Milne’s speech to the National Press Club, which delivered a stinging rebuke to the major parties’ half-baked attitude to problems of environmental sustainability and global warming, and their unholy attachment to all things fossil-fuelled.
“The big thing about the carbon tax is, it doesn’t actually reduce emissions, our emissions go up, not down. And so for everybody who is concerned about climate change, the first thing you would actually say is that it doesn’t actually do the job.” – Greg Hunt, shadow minister for climate, LNP, speaking on ABC TV’s Q&A on Monday night
“Actually, we’ve seen already emissions coming down from electricity – 8.6 per cent since carbon pricing was introduced. That’s a very important success.” – Tanya Plibersek, federal minister for health, ALP, also on Q&A
“Labor cannot have it both ways. They cannot argue that they take the climate science seriously and at the same time subsidise massive mining and export of fossil fuels to the tune of $10 billion.” – Christine Milne, leader of the Australian Greens, in her National Press Club speech on Tuesday.
“Just because Environment Victoria, which is opposed to brown coal generation, puts out a report on the same day Senator Milne is at the Press Club doesn’t mean that the government should be taking full account of a report that appears to be deficient in a number of respects.” – Greg Combet, federal climate change minister
“The government’s system is an electricity tax and it’s a gas tax, and that means it’s on families and small businesses.” – Greg Hunt, Q&A
“China’s not going anywhere near this (pricing carbon). …I can guarantee you that China will not be imposing a nation-wide electricity, energy and gas tax.” – Greg Hunt, Q&A
“We should proactively push forward the reform of taxation related to the environment, such as replacing the existing pollution discharge fee by an environmental protection tax. Carbon dioxide emissions should be subject to this tax.” – Jia Chen, head of tax policy in China’s Ministry of Finance.
“China’s role has shifted from being asked to act (on cutting greenhouse gas emissions), to acting of its own accord. That was determined by the prospects, the basic interests, of China’s billion-plus population.” – Zou Ji, deputy director of China’s National Centre for Climate Change Strategy, in an interview with China Dialogue called “What the world is getting wrong about China and climate change”
“A nation can either be serious about climate change, serious about the transition in the economy and serious about getting the huge opportunities that are there in 100% renewable energy, in new solar power, in supporting communities as they put photovoltaic panels on their roofs, or you give in to the fossil fuel industry.” – Christine Milne, NPC speech
“Over the last 10 years, I believe the Greens have held back environmental gains in this country more than any other party. Had the Greens supported Rudd’s proposal the carbon price would have been put in place without any problems and we would have gone on to have an election between Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull – which is what everyone seems to want now.” – Jess Jennings, Labor’s Calare candidate
“If Australia continues down the path of massive coal and coal port expansion, we risk stranded assets, jobs collapse, dislocation on a grand scale and super funds losing badly. Fossil fuel companies cannot burn all of their reserves if the world is to have any chance of reining in climate change.” – Milne