Mr Coal, or Eco Warrior? Frydenberg’s climate hypocrisy won’t fool voters

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After singing the virtues of coal as minister for environment, Josh Frydenberg is writing to voters about the importance of “addressing climate change.”

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(AAP Image/Lukas Coch)
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Is Josh Frydenberg ‘Mr Coal,’ or ‘eco-warrior’?

It depends when you’re asking.

Today, into my letter box, arrived a thick, taxpayer funded letter, from Josh Frydenberg – federal Treasurer and member for the inner Melbourne electorate of Kooyong.

“I take seriously the role we all have as custodians of our environment”, the letter claims.

The Liberals are, according to the letter, “addressing climate change, and protecting Australia’s wonderful natural assets”.

The hypocrisy is sickening.

Previously, Josh positioned himself as ‘Mr Coal’ in order to curry favour with his coal loving colleagues. And at self promotion, he excels.

He claimed, “you can’t have a modern economy without energy, and for now, and the foreseeable future, the foundation of Australia’s energy needs will be coal. The foundation of the world’s energy needs will be coal”.

As Environment Minister, Mr Coal condemned the Great Barrier Reef to death, giggling and cheering with his Liberal mates, passing coal around in Parliament, as C02 concentration levels moved above 400PPM, locking in 1.5°C of warming in 2015.

He parroted the “strong moral case for coal”. He supports the opening of the Galilee Basin for coal mining, and backs the Adani mine, adopting the Mineral’s Council talking point that digging up more coal will “lift hundreds of millions of people out of energy poverty”.

Even last year he was singing the virtues of coal power and highlighting how his policy, the NEG (National Energy Guarantee), would prolong the life of the coal fleet. In addition, he stated he “would welcome a new coal-fired power station”.

Now he wants to claim a different story. The letter runs through the government’s failed climate policy and, with numerous lies, cherry picked data and heroic assumptions, it makes the case that Josh cares.

And he does care – but only about himself. Here in Kooyong, the electorate has had it with this kind of duplicity.

Josh will say anything to improve his career prospects. If only his career was dependent on reducing climate pollution, we might all have a chance.

But now, as his electorate readies to finally throw him out, he is trying to reinvent himself.

Apart from the obvious lies, the abuse of taxpayer money is astounding. The printing and postage of this propaganda would have cost around $100,000 of your money.

I have faith that the people of Kooyong are smarter than this. That they won’t forget the man who waved the coal around in Parliament, or had some sort of road to Damascus moment in the weeks before a federal election.

I challenge you, Josh, to stand on a stage with me, anywhere in the electorate and to debate your credentials on climate. Name the date and time, I’ll be there.

Because this rubbish cannot stand.

Oliver Yates was the inaugural CEO of the federal government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation. He is currently campaigning as an Independent for the seat of Kooyong in the upcoming federal election.

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