14 February 2022

Greens angered by weak or non-existent federal climate action responses

| Lottie Twyford
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2020-10-26 ACT Greens Legislative Assembly Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The ACT Greens have blasted the Federal Liberals and Labor party for their ‘weak stance’ on COP26 and climate commitments. Pictured: Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury and MLA Jo Clay. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The ACT Greens have expressed their anger and disappointment with Federal Labor and Liberal’s responses to requests for explanations of their national climate policies from their ACT counterparts.

The Greens say Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s response was full of “lies and bluster”, while Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese failed to even respond to Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s request.

Last year, the ACT Legislative Assembly passed a motion put forward by Greens MLA Jo Clay with tripartisan support that called on each party to write to their Federal counterparts and request detail on each party’s national climate policies as well as ask them to commit to “certain climate actions” such as 100 per cent renewable electricity.

Ms Clay says the response, or indeed lack of response, from each party has been telling.

“I’m particularly upset by Anthony Albanese’s failure to respond,” Ms Clay said. “We’re in a climate crisis and to have Federal Labor not even answer and not even tell us what they will commit to ahead of a federal election is frankly outrageous.

“We know from their policy platform that they have committed to very weak targets that are not consistent with the science … and we know they receive donations from the fossil fuel lobby.”

Mr Barr’s office suggested Region Media contact Federal Labor for an explanation as to why they were unable to reply to his letter – sent on 17 January this year. Mr Albanese’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

READ ALSO Opposition accuses Greens of profiting from taxpayer money, says election ‘profit’ should be paid back

Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to advocate for stronger emissions reduction targets at a national level.

Speaking in the Assembly last November, Opposition spokesperson for emissions reduction Leanne Castley said the Canberra Liberals were “fed-up with climate change being a political issue” and it was time to show young activists politicians are not all “blah blah blah”.

In his short response, Mr Morrison wrote that his government was “taking a responsible, technology-driven approach to tackling climate change”.

Australia will continue to reduce emissions while keeping our economy growing, maintaining affordable, reliable energy and ensuring our regions remain strong, and we expect the average Australian to be around $2000 better off in 2050 under our plan than without it,” his letter read.

Ms Lee was unavailable to comment on how she viewed Mr Morrison’s response before the deadline for this article.

Last year the Opposition Leader, who is also the party’s spokesperson for climate action, attended COP26 where she said in a speech it was important that voices from across the political spectrum were present for discussions around climate change.

“We all want to leave our planet just as beautiful for the next generation to enjoy. I think it is important that voices from across the political spectrum are present for discussions around climate change action,” Ms Lee said.

Tim hollo

Greens Canberra candidate Tim Hollo said the responses of the major parties highlighted the good, bad and the very ugly of federal climate policies. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Greens candidate for Canberra Tim Hollo said Ms Clay’s motion had “flushed out exactly what we would have expected and known about the federal parties’ positions on the climate crisis – the good, the bad, and the very ugly of national climate policies”.

Mr Hollo was impressed with Adam Bandt’s “comprehensive and supportive” response to ACT Greens’ Leader Shane Rattenbury’s letter and his words of congratulations for local climate action.

But Ms Clay said action at an ACT-level alone was not enough.

“The problem with climate change and the environment is that they are national and global issues and we are doing really well in the ACT … but we can’t actually fix climate change in the ACT as an island by ourselves,” she said.

READ ALSO Read the signs on COP26, says Greens MLA Jo Clay

While the ACT Greens have formed either coalition or minority governments with ACT Labor since 2008, Federal Labor has indicated it will not work willingly with the Greens to form a government.

Mr Hollo, however, believes Labor will be forced to work with the Greens “if they have to”.

Labor wants to legislate a 43 per cent emissions reduction target for 2030 if it wins the election but the Greens want pollution slashed 75 per cent this decade and the country on the way to net-zero by 2035.

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Jo Clay told the ACT Assembly last week that she reads bedtime stories to her daughter about how everyone is going to die if they don’t listen to the Greens.

I am proud to live in Canberra with a Greens/Labor government who work together to consider the science, the negative effects of climate change, the environment, and economic sustainability for its people. I am frustrated by Federal Labors’ inaction and consistently ignoring their constituents. If they continue to say nothing and fail to commit to any meaningful evidence-based targets, I know I will not be voting for them at the next election.

Russell Nankervis8:31 am 15 Feb 22

In the ACT we have a Greens/Labor government because the people of Canberra take climate change seriously. Our federal politicians are failing us. Where is the ambition and hope? I am glad the Greens are taking a stand because Labor wants to sit on the fence to appease the climate denialists. Rather pathetic really. Whitlam or Hawke would have had this sorted out ages ago.

Capital Retro10:39 am 15 Feb 22

Why is it necessary to take climate change seriously, Russell?

Russell Nankervis2:07 pm 15 Feb 22

We’ll be screwed if we don’t. Black Summers will become the norm. No thanks. Also, becoming more sustainable will also benefit us all.

Capital Retro3:49 pm 15 Feb 22

What has the Zombie movie term “Black Summer” got to do with the science of climate change?

If the Greens were serious about the environment they would have pushed for electric buses with a good network so it was accessible by everyone. Agreeing to the tram shows politics before environment.

The Greens have urged the electrification of the ACT bus fleet as well as all other government vehicles. The Greens keep suggesting improvements to the bus network and timetables but the Transport ministry is not held by a Greens MLA so we don’t always get everything we want.

Capital Retro1:14 pm 15 Feb 22

When was the last time you hugged a tree, Denby?

? Not sure. Perhaps a few months ago. I certainly find that getting out in nature is very relaxing and restorative. What about you? Are you a keen gardener?

Capital Retro4:11 pm 15 Feb 22

I’m a very keen conservationist and gardener. I used to support the original Greens when they were focused on the environment but now they want to control everything and they are clearly out of their depth.

CR, When the Greens were about the climate, nature, conservation etc, everyone knew what they stood for.
The modern day Greens are now a party of radicals that support / encourage
protests and push social agendas.

You can’t blame the bus timetable issues and delays in electrification of the bus fleet on the Transport Ministry not being held by a Greens MLA.
The Greens hold the balance of power. There is nothing stopping them from tapping Andrew on the shoulder and saying, “Scrap LR and introduce electric buses”.

HiddenDragon6:52 pm 14 Feb 22

“The Greens say Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s response was full of “lies and bluster”, while Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese failed to even respond to Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s request.”

Bravo Albo!

The stony silence from federal Labor might have something to do with admin. resources available to an opposition party, compared to the ability of a government to churn out “lies and bluster”, but it might also indicate that federal Labor is now more focused on the people who produce the real wealth of the nation, not those who consume it from positions of noisy privilege.

Australian voters are entitled to know what are the intentions of all candidates and parties on the single most important political issue of our time. We deserve to see cooperative and constructive collaboration by all our representatives on all issues and a whole lot less game playing and wedging. Our current PM is only interested in playing media games, taking the credit when things go well (regardless of who actually did the good work) and shifting blame whenever possible.
The government’s recent attempts to take credit for the extraordinary uptake of renewables generation is breathtaking in its arrogance: the Coalition has spent the last few decades doing the bare minimum or actually derailing the energy transition in Australia.

I’m sure the Greens really think about climate change in the Chairman’s lounge of the QANTAS club

Where do you think about action on climate change, or do you prefer not to think about it at all?
In any event, what do you imagine to be the significant difference in emissions between the same people in chairman’s, FF/business, and economy passengers, given they fly at all?

phydeaux – I do my bit. I use battery operated tools to mow/chip edges. I’m an absolute zealot with turning off powered items in the house that don’t need to be on. I do drive a fossil fueled vehicle as I am not rich like a Green politician who could afford an EV, but actually how many of them have one? Greens are DAISNAID

“We already have the means to travel among the stars but these technologies are locked up in black projects and it would take an Act of God to ever get them out to benefit humanity……Anything you can imagine, we already know how to do.” – Ben Rich, 2nd Director of Lockheed Skunkworks
(Stated during a 1993, Alumni Speech at UCLA)

I didn’t know we had discovered wormholes or developed Faster Than Light travel. Must read more

Vinson1Bernie2:55 pm 14 Feb 22

I live in hope that the Greens on day put up policies that are fully costed that take in all the costs and any offset revenue ideas required to meet these proposals but I only have 30 years left on this planet

The last time anyone seems to have tried that, Australians voted for the other lot in case the first lot did something they said they weren’t going to do, or something like that.
Anyway, just point the Greens to one of those other parties’ fully costed policies including all cost and revenue implications and future impacts, so they can use it as an example for themselves.

All Greens policies are fully costed by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office. The PBO was a Greens initiative established in 2012 during the minority Gillard Labor government.



Denby, I see that improvement but I do not think those estimates represent the detailed costs and impacts for which Vinson1Bernie said they were looking, hence the nature of my response to them.

Wet lettuce anyone?

“Mr Hollo, however, believes Labor will be forced to work with the Greens ‘if they have to’.”

Wow, what a poor way to forge a political relationship, one party is willing to force the other.

Russell Nankervis8:32 am 15 Feb 22

Do you honestly think Labor would work with the Nationals to form government?

In our system of government the numbers decide who forms government and what policies are enacted. The people choose who they want to see in the parliament and then expect the representatives to work in the best interests of the majority. Labor will work with whatever they are dealt at the election: it may be an absolute majority in the lower house or a minority with Greens and independents. The Senate will be very difficult for either side to dominate due to the likely swelling numbers of independents and Greens.
Effective government involves being flexible and responding to the political landscape. Labor has done it before: the Gillard government was always in minority and yet it was one of the most productive in Australia’s history.

Russel, Labor have made it clear they will dance alone before they dance with Bandt.

Denby, Labor have said no to the Bandt Greens, and NO again. In response to this jilt, Greens plan to force Labor into something. Greens continually say they “do politics differently”, then in practice they don’t.

A growing Australian population make it harder to reduce our emissions.

Reducing emissions by 10% doesn’t help a lot if the population increases by 10%.

As Australia is frequently touted as being the highest per capita emitting nation, people moving here are likely to have a larger impact on the environment than if they stayed in their home country.

So if the Greens really cared about the environment they should be against immigration. Not targeting any particular country or region, but applied to immigrants from all countries.

But surprise surprise, it doesn’t seem to be a priority for them. Perhaps the environment isn’t so important to the Greens after all?

“Reducing emissions by 10% doesn’t help a lot if the population increases by 10%”
You are assuming emissions reduction of about 1% a year?

Over 1 billion disposable masks in the ocean. They’re the most common litter around Canberra.

Perhaps if the Greens has not scuppered Rudd’s Carbon trading scheme, we’d have the outcomes they claim to want today?

Although can our local politicians please stop focusing on issues that are completely out of their control and influence?

It’s not like they’ve got no local problems to work on.

Spot on Chewy.
It’s always amazed me that the Greens knocked back Rudd’s plan; because it didn’t meet all of their objectives.

The Greens single handedly believe they are the only ones with the answers to Climate and every social agenda we face.
Why the ACT Assembly agreed to their political stunt and agreed to write to their Federal counterparts, I have no idea. And while some may dismiss ScoMo’s response, Albo not even bothering to respond says something about the relevance of the ACT Greens.

Of interest, today I’ve received a glossy print newsletter from Johnathan Davis outlining the Greens acheivements; banging on about how the Assembly kicked the big banks out of our schools, housing being a Human Right, Climate Emergency, 54,000 trees and of course details of the Greens candidates for the Federal Election.

The thing that made me laugh, before I threw this junk mail in the bin (recycling), was where he said he honoured his commitment to be the first MLA to open an Electorate Office. That office is open for 3 hrs on a Friday, in a coffee shop!
Pop in for a chat and have a coffee. Hardly an Electorate Office Johnathan! Oh and who is paying for the coffee?

Its a key achilles heel of the greens. Far too often willing to achieve nothing if they can’t get to the utopia immediately, rather then take some steps along the right path.

They have a policy basis that, in some locations, strongly aligns with the views of a not insignificant part of the community.

But they have zero ability to play the ‘politics’ needed to get anywhere near their lofty ambitions. Their inability to see steps in the right direction as being better then doing nothing is a key part of that.

I have seen within the last couple of years on another site a strong Greens supporter trying to justify that blunder still. Perhaps if they were prepared to own the fact it was short-sighted, naive, and damaging in its effects, they may get more support today.

Russell Nankervis8:34 am 15 Feb 22

Because it was a weak policy that did nothing. The Carbon tax that the Labor/Greens government brought in actually did something AND paid for the NDIS. Bad policy doesn’t deserve to be supported.

The CPRS was a dud: low ambition and massive built in penalties if ambition were ever ramped up. Labor wanted it to fail so they could blame the Greens forever. Very cynical and hypocritical. The Clean Energy Futures package (CEF) introduced by the minority Gillard government in 2011 was a wonderful improvement on the CPRS which Labor and the Greens should be jointly proud of. The period of its operation saw real decline in emissions in Australia. The continued blaming about the dud CPRS is a disappointing distraction from the real culprits the Coalition who tore down the CEF: emissions have been growing ever since.

Denby and Russell,
disageee entirely.

The CPRS was a stepping stone to more broad scale changes and would have been incrementally improved over time. That was specifically the way it was designed.

The replacement policies negotiated between the Greens and Labor post that period were complete failures and have led us to the situation we now find ourselves in. The Carbon Tax was a dog of a policy, even if they didn’t want to admit it was a tax at all. The Greens must wear an enormous amount of blame for this and where we find ourselves now.

If they were willing to sacrifice their ideological purity for real outcomes, we would have a working international Carbon trading scheme, our emissions profile would be significantly lower and we would be much further along the path to decarbonisation.

No matter how much Greens supporters want to excuse their party for this failure, it was extremely short sighted and lacked any sense of pragmatism.

I’m sure Abbott and his government would have destroyed the CPRS just as enthusiastically. I would urge you to focus on the real villains and reflect that reprosecuting a 13 year old strategic disagreement only helps our opponents.

In any case it’s inconceivable that anyone would try to relegislate a carbon tax: the world has moved on. Now we need electricity market reforms, accelerated grid upgrades, strict vehicle emissions standards and initiatives like the ACT Sustainable Housing Scheme interest free loans. Let’s acknowledge our common interests and turn our minds to real solutions for the current state of the climate emergency.

A market mechanism like the CPRS would have been much harder to unpick by Abbott and Co.

And I actually think the Libs would have quietly accepted the CPRS once it was legislated because ideologically it fits much better for them and there would have been less political mileage to be gained from it in the same way removing the Carbon tax was.

And I am focusing on the real villians.

Idealists who cannot compromise and who cannot be pragmatic to balance competing interests on climate change are just as dangerous as those who claim it doesn’t exist.

The Greens don’t want to acknowledge their proposed policy direction would come with significant negative local effects for a significant proportion of Australians. That can’t just be brushed off, the real solutions you mention must fully recognise and deal with it.

“it’s inconceivable that anyone would try to relegislate a carbon tax”
Quite so. You blundered and thus damaged progress, and reduced support for the Greens. Without that we may never have suffered Abbott at all, no political window of opportunity for the deep conservatives. It is a bit rich to blame Abbott later when you first helped his rise.
If you want change, accustom people to some progress then accelerate when they have actually bought into your target rather than just saying they should.

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