Environment / Tax and public expenditure The budget should have been a road to Australia’s low-emissions future May 13, 2021 John Quiggin14 Comments . Instead, it’s a flight of fancy. That’s the tile of my latest piece in The Conversation. Read there, comment here. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading... Related
14 thoughts on “The budget should have been a road to Australia’s low-emissions future”
JQ said “The Morrison government is still edging towards announcing a 2050 net-zero target in time for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow this November. ”
Greens senator McKim’s amendment “by 2035” to alter Labor’s amendments on the gas bill were defeated 9-40something.
Murray Watt basically excoriated the Greens in a 1 minute speech. Labor & Greens seen like Australia China at the moment.
After Matt Canavan praised Bob Brown for getting Adani up and inviting him to Qld to organise gas.
As you said in newsletter JQ “I’m depressed by the state of policy debate in Australia at the moment, but still trying to contribute where possible”
Me too, and thanks.
I’ll try to dry my wet blanket now.
Josh Frydenberg made two big mistakes in his speech last night.First and foremost he let slip the real tactic used by his government to reduce unemployment, when he said that the coalition stands for the “power of persuasion” – not what was written down in his speech because he quickly corrected himself. His second big mistake was to claim that the coalition’s pandemic response caused no structural damage to the economy. The coalition blind spot on the closure of borders is, of course, perfectly predictable. Just ask the refugees on Christmas Island locked away until they can be deported. But skills shortages will plague Australia for the rest of this decade.
As for his claimed spending on the Environment; his supposed $480 million of new funding included the $100 million they gave to that small company to “fix” the problems of the Great Barrier Reef and some vague program to reduce waste going to landfill. Of course Scotty from marketing has had his input into Frydenberg’s speech. He probably came up with the coalition’s motto “TECHNOLOGY NOT TAXES”. This nonsensical phrase is as empty of meaning as is the coalition public commitment to climate change. Just throwing $1.6 billion at Snowy 2.0 and building a large battery does not address climate change.
What largess that do address any real issues are only there because the government has no excuses in terms of new revenue. Paradoxically they can thank China for driving up the price of iron ore to a record $228 a tonne – giving the 2021-22 budget a windfall gain of $35 billion. On top of the extra $44 billion from increased income taxes, the government is caught with its hand in the ‘bickie tin’ or as they like to call it the ‘patent box’.
We can just imagine this budget’s outcomes if that unexpected revenue was not available,.
“It’s hard to work out why the government is so resistant to doing anything” (about reducing carbon emissions).
No, it is not. It is corruption.
Ban political donations by corporates. Ban ministers from taking jobs with related corporates on retirement.
Install a corruption watchdog with teeth.
Tangentially OT. The ever-trimming IEA, a good representative of the global technocratic CW, has moved a long way towards greenery, leaving Australia ever exposed as an outlier. But it’s still a long way from the full Tony Seba. Press release (https://www.iea.org/news/renewables-are-stronger-than-ever-as-they-power-through-the-pandemic):
” … the amount of renewable electricity capacity added in 2020 rose by 45% in 2020 to 280 gigawatts (GW), the largest year-on-year increase since 1999.”
That’s *percentage* increase – the absolute one was many times that of 1999. So yeah renewables! But the IEA’s historical Eeyorism strikes back:
“The increase in 2020 is set to become the “new normal”, with about 270 GW of renewable capacity on course to be added in 2021 and almost 280 GW in 2022, despite a slowdown in China after an exceptional level of additions last year. ”
Somebody should tell Chinese PV manufacturers, who are doing this instead as prices tighten from booming demand:
“Thirteen major PV manufacturers – including Longi, Tongwei, and Trina Solar – have announced a total investment of more than CNY 236 billion, for more than 40 production expansion projects.” Longi alone plans to add 25 GW in production capacity this year. https://www.pv-magazine.com/2021/03/13/the-weekend-read-unprecedented-plans-and-investments-in-chinese-pv-production-capacity/
Of course, Chinese PV manufacturers have been ignoring the IEA for as long as they have been in business, generally with some success..
John Street is correct. The real explanation for COALition and opposition policies are the fossil fuel donations to the COALition and the Anthracite-Lignite Party (ALP).
There is absolutely no other logical explanation for the policy positions of these parties.
“ACF’s report, Fossil fuel money distorting democracy, finds:
Donations from the fossil fuel industry to the major parties have more than doubled in the last four years.
Extractive industries are by far the largest donors from the coal, oil and gas sector, accounting for more than half of the total donations to the major parties since 2015-16.
There is a severe lack of transparency in Australia’s system of political donations, with more than $102 million of declared donations in the 2018-19 reporting period having no identifiable source.
“The last four years of political donations data shows the extent of the coal, oil and gas sector’s attempts to buy political power in Australia,” said ACF’s Democracy Campaigner Jolene Elberth.”
There we have it. True democracy is inoperative in Australia, just as it is inoperative in the USA. While the people can vote an unpopular or even bad leader (e.g. Donald Trump) they cannot vote effectively FOR the policies they want. The majority of Australians want climate action. Our major parties taking political donations from the fossil fuel companies refuse to enact.
Well, I wonder how Australians will like being on the end of sanctions from the whole world, not just China? Until we act to break the power of the sellout parties and their fossil fuel bosses, that is the future we face. Oh, plus the climate change of course which will hit Australia worse than any country on earth. Actually, I think we should be talking of biosphere change. Everything is changing, not just the climate and weather.
There’s a risk of seeming glib there. Adjustment to change is seldom if ever cost-free. Of course, that’s not always a reason for avoiding it. In many instances, there’s a case for public contribution to meeting the costs of adjustment to change, but it’s not generally valid to argue from ‘Adjusting to change will be costly’ to ‘Don’t change’. However, there is a risk that saying ‘People can adjust to change’ will seem like giving the brush-off to what may be legitimate concerns.
Niggle: there is no “Volvo” any more. The company JQ cites is Volvo Cars, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Chinese Geely group. Not to be confus
… confused with Volvo Trucks, part of the Swedish company Volvo AB. The t
.. truck business has a much larger share of its market.
The local Volvo mechanic — who by the way has about 70 kilowatts of solar on his workshop roof — intends to deal with the change to electric cars by still being in business after mechanics go bust.
Obviously, this approach isn’t going to work for everyone.
John, this part is confusing:
“The average age of Australian cars is about 10 years. This implies, given fairly steady sales, an average lifespan of 20 years.”
Not sure what you intended to write, but the average age of Australian cars is around 11 years with the large majority off the road before they hit 20.
Ronald: Explain the arithmetic in your second paragraph. The one qualification that needs to be made to JQ’s point is that younger vehicles do more of the annual mileage, so a replacement strategy is slightly more effective in cutting emissions than average ages suggest. The emissions effect can be enhanced by tying subsidies to the scrapping of old diesel vehicles, as in Spain.
JQ: “It’s hard to work out why the government is so resistant to doing anything to help electric vehicles. Public support appears strong. There are no domestic carmakers left to protect.”
Indeed. With China, the EU and the EU all lined up behind the EV transition, rapid change is inevitable, even for Australia. it will be accelerated by the rollout of V2G models from next year (announced by VW and Hyundai, Tesla will have to follow).
The market will ensure the highway chargers, only slowed a little by government indifference. French oil company Total alone is putting 300 ultrafast 175Kw charging stations with multiple ports into its highway gas stations in France, with plans to reach 150,000 chargers (fast and slow) in 5 European countries by 2025 (https://cleantechnica.com/2021/03/12/total-adding-ultrafast-ev-chargers-to-300-stations-in-france/). The $500 home chargers in houses will simply be sold with the cars.
Where policy action is essential is getting slow chargers into blocks of flats. I guess Australia doesn’t have many row houses with street parking for cars, a common EV headache in Europe. The owners of metro and regional truck, bus and van fleets will put in heir own chargers. Long-distance trucks will need ultra-fast 1 MW chargers, which create problems for grid connection – another case for public policy, but there’s time for this as nobody anywhere is selling the vehicles yet.
Oh right. I understand what John wrote now. It’s like the gates of understanding were opened up to me. My bad. Sorry about that.