Smoke and Mirrors

Inaction on climate change is already costing Australia’s farmers countless dollars, and urgent political action is needed to avoid more extreme droughts, fires and floods, according to a group of farmers who don’t agree with the statements of Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Senator Matt Canavan, former Party leader Barnaby Joyce and others in the National Party — who’s claim to relevance is representing the people in ‘regional Australia’.

Prime Minister Morrison recently announced an aspiration for Australia to be a nation that emits net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. As we’ve pointed out before
Every state in Australia, as well as 73 nations, 398 cities, 786 businesses and 16 investors have indicated that while a commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 is not easy, they intend to get there
Morrison’s stated aspiration is similar to his pronouncements on Australia’s COVID19 response — stand up slightly after the real decision makers have worked out what to do, make a wishy-washy statement that has some relevance to the matter at hand and bask in the reflected glory of the successes of others. Even when the issue is solely a Federal issue such as quarantine for potentially infectious people coming into the country or the management of carbon emissions, Morrison is quick to abrogate responsibility to ‘the states’, ‘the market’ or ‘the regulator’ but quicker to claim responsibility when something implemented by others due to federal government inaction works as intended.

However, this time round, the ‘country bumpkins’ from the conservative rump of Morrison’s Coalition Government are upset. As David Crowe points out in the Nine Media newspaper titles, the ‘country bumpkins’ don’t believe the science and want to put one of their own, Barnaby Joyce, back into the leadership role of the National Party.

The ‘country bumpkins’ are building a straw man (something they might be good at if they really had any experience in their claimed constituency) by claiming the cost of a $30 carbon price on every tonne of burps and farts from the nation’s cow herd, then claimed this would cost farmers $70,000 each. As David Crowe goes on to point out — Morrison ruled out a carbon tax the previous day. The argument is a furphy, but watch the ‘country bumpkins’ claim that their hard work behind the scenes has saved regional Australia from an absolute catastrophe (and tearing down the straw man they constructed — the real point of the exercise). The Guardian recently presented an analysis on how the adults over the other side of the Tasman are managing a transition to a ‘net-zero’ emissions economy by 2050 — and it does include addressing every tonne of ‘burps and farts’ from cattle

Fortunately a representative group of those who really understand and run successful businesses in regional Australia disagree with their alleged representatives — and demonstrate that they are not the ‘country bumpkins’ in this discussion
“In 2019, the last year of the drought, Australia imported wheat,” said Charlie Prell, a sheep and wind farmer from Crookwell and chair of Farmers for Climate Action.

“The potential impact of climate change on food security, not just pricing but the availability, is dramatic — the wheat fields [sic] are going through the floor.”

Mr Prell stressed he was “not a zealot” but a farmer who didn’t want to see his communities suffer the consequences of unmitigated climate change.
The National Farmers Federation also supports a target of ‘net-zero’ by 2050
The industry is making strong headway in reducing its emissions, with red meat expected to be carbon neutral by 2030, pork by 2025, and work underway for grains and dairy.

Mr Prell knows about this first hand — on his sheep farm he has wind turbines, which creates another revenue stream that’s not seasonal.
and Ernst and Young have found that if nothing is done by 2070, the Australian economy will have a COVID19 sized hole each and every year.

Either a ‘net-zero’ by 2050 target is policy (despite the weasel wording) or it isn’t. Morrison has done nothing to convince any of us that the environmental statement was anything more than smoke and mirrors. He certainly hasn’t stood up to put the ‘country bumpkins’ back in their boxes, or to ensure everyone was on board before making the announcement.

If you want to argue the ‘country bumpkins’ aren’t in the same party as Morrison so he can’t control them, technically you have a point however federally the Liberal Party and the National Party have been joined at the hip for decades. What spin will Morrison and the ‘country bumpkins’ employ when the EU and possibly the USA decide to put a ‘cross border carbon tax’ on nations that are seen as environmental freeloaders — something that is far more likely than you might think.

What do you think?

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