Are the Aussie Nationals Close to Caving on Net Zero?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Are Australia’s rural based Nationals, junior partners in Australia’s ruling coalition, about to switch to supporting unaffordable carbon taxes and higher fuel and energy prices?

Scott Morrison tries to defuse the climate change land mine

Jacob Greber
Senior correspondent
Oct 9, 2021 – 5.00am

It’s crunch time for Scott Morrison on climate.

The next 10 days or so will determine whether the Prime Minister can put Australia on a globally acceptable carbon reduction trajectory.

If he pulls it off, he’ll hope it defuses a politically lethal Claymore mine aimed directly at his inner-city Liberal colleagues and turns its blast field at Anthony Albanese, who is still to detail Labor’s climate ambition and policy pathway.

He needs to do it in a way that lets the National Party hold key seats in Queensland against hard-bitten, climate-action deniers and potential balance-of-power players such as Clive Palmer, Craig Kelly and Pauline Hanson.

Without a rough consensus from the National Party, Morrison’s and Barnaby Joyce’s stint on ministerial leather will be on borrowed time. The Prime Minister will be at risk of joining the list of leaders from both sides who have fallen under the climate-change, political threshing machine.

Nationals MPs are set to meet on Monday to determine how they manage the process of deciding whether to endorse an elevated 2030 emissions reduction plan and net zero by 2050. They have made clear they want Morrison to pay for their support with policies and spending they can take to their constituency.

And that wasn’t even the most egregious attempt to upset Morrison’s apple cart by the National Party’s hardliners. Resources Minister Keith Pitt left many of this senior Liberal colleagues speechless and then apoplectic with his demand the federal government create a $250 billion loan facility to support the resources sector.

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Why has this all suddenly come to a head?

One possibility is Australia has recently come under intense pressure to hand lots of climate cash to Pacific Islanders, the alleged frontline victims of the global warming crisis. If the Nationals cave, an easily overlooked line item on the agreement will likely be handing over billions of dollars to pacific islanders, to try to win votes from Australia’s faux green inner city elites and plaudits on the international stage, with no genuine benefit to Australian taxpayers whatsoever.

How Australia got blindsided in the great Pacific climate coup

By Nick O’Malley
Updated October 9, 2021 — 9.07am

As the Glasgow climate talks loomed closer this week Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama addressed an international forum hosted by the former US vice president Al Gore, with slightly more than customary bluntness.

A little greyer and a touch softer than when he led a coup to take power for his first term in 2006, there was still a whiff of the hard man about him.

Pacific leaders, he said, were tired of commending the resilience of their people in confronting a warming world and the rising seas.

They would no longer accept the role of “canary in the world’s coal mines”, they would not be the world’s “helpless songbirds”.

And then as current chair of the Pacific Islands Forum he listed priorities.

“Fiji and the Pacific’s demands are clear,” he said. “The developed world must deliver on the $100 billion dollars promised in climate finance.” He mentioned Australia and New Zealand specifically.

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Even local Fiji media say government corruption is soaring, so if the Islanders do get their COP26 cash, I’m guessing most of the money won’t make it to genuine climate resilience projects. Don’t get me wrong, we met some lovely people a few years ago when we visited Fiji – but they have no illusions about their politicians and society, and are happy to share with anyone willing to listen. The cafe owner warned us to watch our step when we left, because we’d been there long enough for the local gangs to organise. Thankfully we got away unscathed. One dodgy looking guy coming towards us suddenly veered away as we walked a short distance to our cab – I’m a big guy, and he was being a little obvious. Maybe we left just in time, before they got a crew together.

WUWT have frequently supported National Party members like federal party leader Barnaby Joyce, Bridget McKenzie and Keith Pitt, because of their principled resistance to higher fuel and energy prices for Australian voters.

Now that resistance seems close to crumbling, in the face of international and domestic pressure, perhaps we need to remind them that all paths to net zero which mess up the lives of rural voters who support the Nationals. Higher energy prices would mess up the lives of farmers and miners who regularly have to cross Australia’s vast distances, and mess up the lives of people who run energy intensive businesses in remote locations. There is no getting around that.

All the voter pork in the world, new sport facilities or improved roads or schools, will not compensate voters for businesses shutting down and people losing their jobs, because under net zero they can no longer afford to operate.

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via Watts Up With That?

October 8, 2021 at 08:15PM

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