28 October 2021

What Andrew Barr would have included in PM's climate plan

| Ian Bushnell
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ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr says Prime Minister Scott Morrison has set the bar very low on net-zero emissions. Photo: File.

The Federal Government’s climate change plan contains no new policy and lacks any substantive initiatives for reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, according to ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

Mr Barr, who is also ACT Minister for Climate Action, said Prime Minister Scott Morrison has set the bar very low and Australia in effect had already adopted this objective in signing the Paris Agreement five years ago.

The Federal Government has left the heavy lifting to the state and territory governments, which have led the country on addressing climate change during the past eight years, said Mr Barr.

He said the lack of detail and the refusal to release any modelling with the plan, which includes investing more than $20 billion in ‘low emissions technologies’ in the next decade, is a concern.

Mr Barr was particularly dismissive of the inclusion of the unproven carbon capture and storage technology, which it is hoped could cut the emissions of coal and gas-fired power stations, energy intensive industries and gas fields.

“I expect this will be another example of the ‘sunk cost fallacy’ [throwing good money after bad] for the economic textbooks of the future,” he said.

Mr Barr said the ACT wanted to see new policies that would make a real difference.

These include the introduction of fuel emissions standards, and targets for electric vehicle new sales.

READ ALSO Morrison’s way to Glasgow is still paved with coal

Mr Barr said there should have been a more ambitious target for reducing emissions by 2030 than the 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels the government is sticking to, and dates for phasing out coal production in the National Electricity Market.

There should also have been additional investments in technologies such as large-scale battery storage and green hydrogen; a training fund to reskill workers in affected industries; and incentives to assist households and businesses to lower their emissions profiles.

Mr Barr questioned whether the Morrison Government is genuine about tackling climate change and global heating.

Asked whether the Federal Government had been forced into adopting the 2050 target by the warnings from international finance markets, Mr Barr said: “The public statements of senior Federal Government ministers speak for themselves.”

He may have been referring to Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor, who has always emphasised the difference between net zero and ‘absolute zero’.

“If your goal is absolute zero, you want to wipe out any industry with any emissions; that means agriculture, that means mining, that means fossil fuels – they have all got to go,” he told the ABC.

“Our goal is net zero, and net zero means that we can still have an agriculture sector, and we’re still going to have gas as an important part of the mix for many years to come.

“That’s appropriate because you simply can’t wipe out these industries and expect the economy can keep functioning; jobs can continue to be created, and we can have the balance in the electricity grid that we need.”

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud, from the National Party, told Sky News that coal miners are not “shuddering in their boots”.

“Our technology roadmap will keep you in work well beyond 2030, well beyond 2040, and probably towards 2050,” he said.

“And if carbon capture storage is taken up not just here in Australia but around the world – your kids could have a job in a pit – that’s the sort of work we’ve been trying to work towards.”

Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce apparently signed up to the plan despite telling his party room he opposed it, but not before extracting billions of dollars worth of concessions.

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HiddenDragon8:15 pm 31 Oct 21

“Asked whether the Federal Government had been forced into adopting the 2050 target by the warnings from international finance markets, Mr Barr said: “The public statements of senior Federal Government ministers speak for themselves.”

Had the windfall revenue from the mining boom gone into a sovereign wealth fund (like Norway’s) we would now be in a much better position to give the vampire squids of the international financial markets the two-fingered salute which they so richly deserve.

Even more to the point, had that windfall revenue been saved, rather than distributed (albeit fairly unevenly) across the Australian community, we would now have somewhat fewer people who are so detached from economic reality and thus so susceptible to vacuous sloganeering about “real action on climate change” – little realising that the industries they demand be shut down are funding the entitled materialistic lifestyles which so many Australians now take completely for granted.

Canberra is an epicentre of that entitled materialism and is also an economic black hole when it comes to spending on imports compared to earnings on exports (even if you swallow the highly tendentious modelling about the “export earnings” of the overseas student trade). That’s why the impatience and dismay of Canberrans, as articulated here by their government, is so ironic – a bit like turkeys demanding Christmas every month.

Climate plan. 1. Use Zoom. 2. Follow the money to that fatcat globalists. Al Gore anybody? 3. Don’t buy from the CCP. 4. Cut out the QANTAS Chairmans Lounge for Greens politicians

“The Federal Government has left the heavy lifting to the state and territory governments …”. Well, Australia is a federation of states working together for a common wealth. Seems to me the leaders balk against Federal intervention when it suits them and balk against Federal delegation or sharing of responsibility when it suits them. There have been plenty of comments and articles about the ACT Government that reflect this.

Stephen Saunders3:40 am 31 Oct 21

In effect, Morrison claims we can reach “net zero” 2050 while ignoring the environment and growing population by 40%.

That’s the contradiction Barr ought to be talking about. Except that Labor and Greens also support Big Australia.

Capital Retro5:41 pm 31 Oct 21

Net zero jobs, that’s what he means. But he will still get his unfunded retirement benefits.

Capital Retro,
Now what are you talking about? Unfunded retirement benefits?

Morrison only entered parliament in 2007, he is not in a defined benefits superannuation fund.

Capital Retro6:12 pm 30 Oct 21

Well, Mr Barr would say that and of course he would say wouldn’t he and if a real journalist dared to challenge him he would say also he wasn’t being politically opportunistic.

Shane Rattenborough probably wrote the media release anyhow.

And now that the ACT has the most expensive electricity in Australia due to his bungling he isn’t really in a position to be giving further advice, is he?

My electricity costs in a NSW city were about 40% more than I pay here in Canberra. That’s per kilowatt-hour, no trickery with bundling services, solar offset etc. It just cost more, and the carbon emissions weren’t net-zero either.

Capital Retro10:07 pm 02 Nov 21

“Were” is the operative word, Nick. I have a house in remote country NSW and the costs are about the same as ActewAGL in Canberra now but the solar feed-in rate is 17c per KwH.

Who are you kidding when you imply electricity in Canberra is net zero emissions, too?

Capital Retro,
The electricity costs in NSW are still higher than the ACT, who are you kidding.

And the reason is obvious and has very little to do with renewables or generation sources, it’s all about network costs.

In the ACT, we have very low network costs because we are a city state. So we don’t have to subsidise rural and regional areas for large network and transmission costs like people in NSW do.

Stop making stuff up.

AB needs to be careful when he tells Morrison and Taylor that they haven’t gone far enough with their climate plans because under his ALP/Greens’ local climate plans, our electricity prices have just increased an average of 11.95% and in order to cool our city, the Greens want to mandate (for new construction), that 20% of your backyard be set aside for trees, which will result in more complex and expensive constructions.

Mr Barr didn’t even mention the N-word, a proven technology providing reliable emissions free power since 1954. The poll shows 57% of 1,228 votes clicked yes, it’s about time we got on with it.

Ah, now yesterdays article makes perfect sense.

It was just a lead in piece of partisanship to plug the local ALP again with some sycophantic “journalism”.

Despite the fact that the local ALP has to deal with almost none of the national challenges that net zero comes with and who have shown themselves to be thoroughly incompetent with the amount of money they’ve wasted on inefficient programs in this space.

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