A coal-fired nation in transition
https://www.smh.com.au/national/a-coal- ... 52rl3.html
In October the former President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, might have wondered what he had ever done to offend us. He was dining in Canberra when — according to several sources — then environment minister Melissa Price blasted him: "I know why you are here. It is for the cash."
Eloquence taking wing, she added with sarcasm, "For the Pacific it is always about the cash. I’ve got my cheque book. How much do you want?"
Anote Tong had addressed the UN Security Council, speaking on climate on behalf of his atoll nation, and been nominated for the Nobel Prize. This encounter with an Australian enchantress may make DFAT histories on our diplomatic triumphs, or be appropriated by Barry Humphries for a Les Patterson script.
No wonder President Tong went on record saying, "When it comes to dealing with climate change, China is the lesser of two evils compared to Australia." Touché.
The pacific Island atoll state of Kiribati is threatened with being drowned by rising sea water due to global warming. This is not something that they need to be advised by the environmental scientists about. Any Kiribati resident can see it happen by watching their shoreline for years. The insufferable, aggressive bad manners of our Environment Minister reflects badly on the current Australian government.
But Scott Morrison has a chance to refurbish Coalition rhetoric on climate. For that matter so has Labor, as it grapples with rejection of its climate policies at the last election.
For both sides a different language is being provided by Australian business. Boardrooms accept the urgency of climate and are opting for innovation. Professor Ross Garnaut told me he thought Australia would achieve a 45 percent cut in emissions by 2030, simply as a result of investment decisions.
Morrison might have told friends from the Pacific states they needn’t nag him about coal because there was an irreversible transition underway. He could have said the Commonwealth Bank now has as little as $10 million exposed to coal. NAB was the first retail bank in the world to say it would not fund thermal coal. None of the Australian banks was prepared to fund Adani. Rio has sold its coal mines and BHP is expected to extricate itself from thermal assets.
Taking each Pacific island leader aside, the Prime Minister could have added that no Australian corporate will be putting money into coal-fired power because over the next 30 or 40 years there will be accelerating evidence of climate shift. We signed Paris, he might have said, and it has the force of law and shapes decisions by Australian boardrooms.
For its part Labor is able to say the superannuation funds are now the third biggest owner of infrastructure in Australia. Their policy is to require an annual report on carbon reductions and emissions from assets — with chief executives being held accountable.
The plunging cost of renewables in a country that leads the world in rooftop solar is a fact of life. Labor can shift its policy focus to better transmission to distribute the low cost renewable power and new batteries to store it for peak demand.
Scott Morrison did not utter a word about this transition taking place to any of the South Pacific Island leaders present at the Tuvalu conference. it moves me to wonder what kind of a team of dickheads are currently leading my country.
Our government's arrogance is only exceeded by its profound ignorance.
As for our party in Opposition; its sin is one of omission.
(Excuse me readers if I sound pissed off with Australian politics. I am!)