Turnbull says Morrison bows to climate deniers, Kyoto fudge will leave mountain to climb

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Turnbull says Morrison has bowed to Coalition climate deniers, and is setting Australia up for ‘an even bigger mountain to climb’ post-2030.

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Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says Australia’s coal lobby is effectively arguing for high prices and higher emissions, and warned that Scott Morrison is too afraid to challenge them for fear of reigniting a battle with the Coalition’s conservative wing.

In another wide-ranging speech critical of the Coalition’s right wing, and the ranks of climate deniers in both the  federal government and the Murdoch media, Turnbull also warned that Morrison’s decision to claim credits from the Kyoto surplus to meet its modest 2030 climate targets will leave Australia needing to produce “a superhuman effort” to cut emissions after 2030.

Speaking at the National Smart Energy Conference in Sydneyon Tuesday, Turnbull said that the conservative wing of the Liberal-National coalition no longer respected majority views within the party, and would opt to “blow up” the party, rather than ever see the party adopt an ambitious policy on climate change.

“The right of the party no longer accepts the premise of a political party, which is that you get a bunch of people in a room like this, and then you go along with the consensus of the majority,” Turnbull told the summit.

“And the problem is that the right increasingly is prepared to say ‘we know we are the minority, but unless you give in to us, we are just going to blow the joint up’.”

When asked about what approach he would take to the question of using surplus Kyoto-era emissions permits to meet Australia’s 2030 targets, Turnbull suggested that he would have taken a cautious approach.

Turnbull made the point the degree to which the Morrison government is using up the surplus units to meet its 2030 targets, delivering around half of the required emissions reductions, would make it substantially more difficult to reach subsequent targets beyond 2030.

“I think the appropriate course of action is to use them, if at all, with great discretion. I certainly saw them as being something in our back pocket to enable us to get over the line, if we had just fallen short, by a relatively small amount,” Turnbull said.

“My concern about using them for nearly half the lifting is that it leaves you in 2030, with an even bigger mountain to climb, going into 2035 or 2040.”

“You’re really setting yourself up for a superhuman effort post-2030 if you were to use all the credits.”

Federal energy minister Angus Taylor is currently in Madrid, defending Australia’s plans to use the surplus Kyoto permits to deliver around half of the emissions reductions necessary to achieve the Morrison government’s 26 to 28 per cent emissions reduction target.

A group of more than 100 countries have sought agreement at the COP25 climate talks in Spain to prohibit the use of Kyoto-era permits under the Paris Agreement. Australia may be alone in arguing against the prohibition, the intention of which is to maintain the environmental integrity of the Paris Agreement.

Turnbull said that the push to stymie the transition to renewable energy was effectively a push towards keeping electricity prices higher and that the current economics of building new electricity generation capacity meant that no one should be building a new coal-fired power station.

“The cost of new generation has shifted in favour of renewables plus storage. There’s no question about that. Regardless of the carbon emissions, no one in their right mind would build a new coal-fired power station here today, on the grounds of economics,” Turnbull said.

“The problem with the coal lobby today is that they are basically arguing for higher emissions and higher electricity prices. That is an absolute loser.”

Turnbull suggested Morrison, his successor as prime minister, had been a ‘pragmatic’ supporter of the now abandoned National Energy Guarantee, but that Morrison had opted not to relitigate the fight over climate change policy, to avoid reigniting opposition from the Coalition’s conservative wing.

“Scott [Morrison] has abandoned the NEG, even though he absolutely was as strong a supporter of it as I was,” Turnbull added.

“The idea that Scott and Josh [Frydenberg] were against the National Energy guarantee and relieved to see me go, so that they could abandon [the NEG] is complete rubbish. They’ve just bowed to the reality that there is a group within the party that will blow the joint up.”

Turnbull said it was easy to label prime minister Scott Morrison as a “coal hugger”, saying it was unwise for Morrison to brandish a piece of coal in the House of Representatives.

“[Morrison] had probably an unwise appearance in the House of Representatives clutching a large lump of coal.”

“I know it’s easy to portray Morrison as a coal hugger, because of that picture in the house. When I was working with him, I always found him very objective about these issues.”

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13 Comments
  1. Pedro 1 week ago

    Turnbull’s responses on Q&A last night about the climate deniers within the LNP were interesting. It was a very strong argument to get the corporate political donations out of politics. Every political party that wants a sensible energy policy needs to oust the LNP climate deniers and target those particular seats at the next election. Then maybe we can get a creditable energy policy.

    • nakedChimp 1 week ago

      “get the corporate political donations out of politics”

      No chance. Money goes into politics to further their economic wealth acquisition scheme, which – tada – is based on lawmakers regulating markets, as only regulated markets create profits.

      Adam Smith, 250 years ago (as relevant as ever):

      “The interest of the dealers [referring to stock owners, manufacturers, and merchants], however, in any particular branch of trade or manufacture, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens.”
      &
      “The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.”

  2. Steve Woots 1 week ago

    He had the biggest chance of all to do something – but didn’t. Any talk now is just a fatuous wank, which doesn’t deserve more than a footnote.

  3. trackdaze 1 week ago

    I would think/hope that many voters would want to recast their vote again.

    On multiple counts Taylor’s constituents may get that chance.

  4. Billyen 1 week ago

    5…4…3…2…1.
    and there it is…He’s BACK to being a greenie again!
    It’s great that he’s going public but, he was a wealthy man before…as the PM of the country and knowing that the right wing were his employers…he should have gone out with a bigger bang and NAMED and SHAMED them…

    He could and should do it now…Who were the lobbyist, which ppl. were in the room?

    If the PM of the country can’t fight these small group (who buy politicians off.)
    what hope do we have?

    Someone must show a back-bone.
    He had and still has a chance to expose these buggers and bring them public.
    He doesn’t need the gold plated pension.
    *I hope we all don’t rush to forgive him too quick and ask him some HARD questions about what he did and didn’t do when his JOB was to look after the Australian people.

  5. Joe 1 week ago

    Poor old Mal. It was his life’s dream to one day be The PM of Australia. He eventual got there, that box ticked, then the ensuing flameout. What will we remember Big Mal as PM for?

  6. Ken Dyer 1 week ago

    The ironic thing about the surplus Kyoto credits is that they were created by Labor as a result of the carbon tax, that reduced Australia’s emissions until Tony Abbott killed it.

    Now Morrison and Taylor want to steal them for their own nefarious purposes.

    Fair dinkum you can’t make this stuff up. When will it end, the lies, the dishonesty, the hubris?

  7. Hettie 1 week ago

    Friends, I must be honest here. I just skimmed the article and have not yet read the comments, in my haste to share with you all a descriptor, found in a Peter Corris thriller, that fits to a T every one of the climate denial stalwarts who pretend to lead us.
    “…couldnt get the truth out past his f…ing front teeth”
    ROFLMFAO.
    Cheers. We all need a laugh

  8. Chris Drongers 1 week ago

    The message from Turnbull in this report and on Q&A is that the right wing of the LNP is completely impervious to rational thought on climate change. Ergo, until Labor can get the RWNJs unelected the current climate change denialism will control the Australian government.

    • Phil NSW 1 week ago

      The Labor Party has the same problem.

  9. Alan Wilson 1 week ago

    Turnbull is weak as piss …. l dont known what the LNP is going to say when it becomes clear to everyone that we are in trouble … how are they going to save face …. there fools

  10. Ren Stimpy 1 week ago

    Revelation of the night on Q&A was when Albanese said Labor would have supported the NEG. So if Turnbull hadn’t been so spineless and had kept his nerve and his policy, the NEG would have sailed through both house and the senate, even if the half dozen archaea-brained Coalition MPs who threatened to cross the floor had done so.

    The two main reasons we don’t have bipartisan climate and energy policy in this country is 1) Kevin Rudd’s spinelessness in not calling an election with the CPRS available as a trigger, and 2) Malcolm Turnbull’s spinelessness in taking the NEG off the table at the slightest threat from the Coalition’s shrinking handful of troglodytes.

  11. DevMac 1 week ago

    Turnbull should know. Morrison is singing from the same hymn book as both Turnbull and Abbott.

    Turnbull has outed himself (long ago, actually) as a leaf on the political wind. His words no longer hold any weight, no matter whether I agree with them or not. His actions are the legacy he leaves as an ex-PM and his actions were to stay the course that Abbott had directed.

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