Ah, yet another addition to the woeful spectacle that is Australian politics. After announcing on Friday night that the government would not seek to legislate the Paris Agreement emissions reduction target, he’s followed it up with another doozy this morning: the so-called National Energy Guarantee won’t have any climate change targets either.
That’s right. The previous plan to include a 26 percent reduction in emissions as part of the legislation is completely gone.
Technically the government is still part of the Paris Agreement and therefore has obligations to reduce emissions, but Turnbull’s line is now that Australia will somehow manage to do that without any kind of change in legislation. Which is obviously a big ask.
Ostensibly Turnbull still has other regulatory levers to make a reduction happen – like by toughening the powers of the industry regulator or dicking around with price controls – but it leaves to be seen whether he’ll actually have the political will to do even that.
Why’s Turnbull doing this? Well, it has to do with the looming threat of a coup – specifically one by cop king Peter Dutton, who has reportedly secured the backing of conservatives in the Coalition. Yes, Tony Abbott among them. Whether or not this is actually true, the media has been saying so, so Turnbull has been frantically ditching the things he thinks are pissing off the conservatives.
The Prime Minister is still pretending its all good on his end. “I enjoy the confidence of the cabinet and my party room,” he told a press conference, which everyone knows is… stretching the truth, to say the least. His argument is that NEG legislation with an emissions cut won’t pass Parliament, and that “you have to focus on what you can deliver.”
Well. Good to see we have such empowered leadership – run by blokes who are absolutely going to be dead before the big effects of climate change are really felt. Cowards.