Will a Labor majority stunt climate action? If the government wants a second term, more climate ambition is essential

That’s the headline for my latest piece in The Conversation. Text is over the fold.

Labor will form a majority government with a climate policy carefully calibrated to provide a clear point of distinction with the Coalition, while doing as little as possible to alienate any significant group of voters.

While Labor’s emissions reduction target is stronger than the Coalition’s, Labor refused to commit to any policies phasing out domestic use of coal, oil and gas, or any restrictions on exports.

For the record number of Australians who voted for Greens and independent candidates, the prospect of a Labor majority may be a worrying sign climate action in Australia will be stunted.

Winning majority government means Labor doesn’t have to negotiate with crossbenchers to control the House of Representatives, though it will need Green and independent support to get legislation through the Senate.

Indeed, the strong pro-climate vote this election means a more ambitious policy will be needed if Labor is to have any hope of retaining majority government for a second term.

Here are a few ways the government can bolster its emission reduction policies.

Setting a meaningful target

The different 2030 emissions reduction targets of each party is the issue attracting most attention so far.

Existing policies, largely implemented by state governments, will likely reduce Australia’s emissions by around 35%, relative to 2005 levels. Labor has promised a reduction of 43%, which will require only marginal enhancements to existing national policies.

Initially, at least, Labor will probably resist any push from the Greens to raise their stated target. But this won’t last.

Labor will surely set a higher target by the next election. If the aim is to secure the support of teal independents, the target could jump to a 60% cut by 2030. This would still present Labor as the moderate alternative to the Greens target of 75%.

The Greens won a significant portion of Australia’s vote this election. AAP Image/James Ross

And if Labor is serious about pushing for Australia to co-host the United Nations’ Conference of Parties (COP) with Pacific island neighbours, the government will need to commit to a more ambitious target even before the next election.

For the moment, however, what matters is not the symbolism of a target, but the policies needed to get us there.

Labor has tied its hands with a clear rejection of any economy-wide carbon price, and with a commitment to maintain coal exports as long as there’s a market for them.

As a result, it will need to adopt a sector-by-sector approach, strengthening Labor’s policies in all areas.

Labor’s electricity policy is weak

Labor’s electricity policy centres on Rewiring the Nation, a public corporation similar in concept to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The idea is to use the borrowing power of the public sector to finance private investment in upgrading the national electricity grid, enabling the connection of more solar and wind generators. This is a useful initiative, but more is needed

Developments since the election have raised the possibility of a more rapid decarbonisation of the electricity system.

First, it has become clear failures in coal-fired power stations and high prices paid by generators for coal and gas will lead to higher electricity prices for consumers.

We’ve seen this both in the default offers set by the Australian Energy Regulator, and in the prices offered by competing retailers, some of whom may drop out of the market altogether.

Second, the failure of the proposal to demerge AGL Energy – Australia’s biggest corporate polluter – raises the prospect these plants will close well ahead of schedule.

Mike Cannon Brookes
Billionaire Mike Cannon Brookes thwarted AGL’s plan to split the company’s coal-heavy generation and power distribution assets. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Labor can respond to these developments substantively by increasing the capacity of Clean Energy Finance Corporation to support the success of solar and wind investments. One immediate move in this direction would be to cancel the Hunter Power Project, a gas-fired power station at Kurri Kurri proposed for construction over the next couple of years.

It can also break with the previous government rhetoric by emphasising the benefits of rapidly transitioning to low-cost renewable technology, rather than seeking to maximise the life of existing coal and gas plants, let alone building new ones.

As part of this shift, Labor should break with the Morrison government’s misconceived idea of a gas-led recovery.

Improving the safeguard mechanism

To reduce emissions from industry, Labor is relying on a beefed-up version of the so-called “safeguard mechanism” it will inherit from the previous government. This mechanism creates a carbon price, though in its weakest possible form.

Businesses covered by the mechanism are encouraged to reduce emissions over time, and are required to buy carbon offsets if they don’t achieve sufficiently rapid reductions.

The policy could be improved by expanding the number of businesses covered, accelerating the planned rate of reduction and tightening up the requirements for offset.

A total overhaul of transport policy

Labor’s biggest difficulties relate to transport, particularly to electric vehicles. Australia is at the back of the pack in the global shift to electric vehicles, but Labor’s election policy consists of little more than some tweaks to sales taxes.

What’s needed is for Australia to follow the rest of the developed world in imposing a fuel efficiency requirement on new vehicles. This should lead to a phase-out date for the sale of internal combustion engine cars, as has already been announced by Britain.

Unfortunately, Labor ruled out a fuel efficiency requirement before the election. It seems that despite former Prime Minister Scott Morrison already disowning his 2019 jibe about electric vehicles abolishing the weekend, Labor strategists were still too scared to touch the idea.

An electric car charging at a Tesla station
Australia is at the back of the pack in the global shift to electric vehicles. STRF/STAR MAX/IPx

Australia is reliant on overseas suppliers of petrol, and our reserve stocks are not held here, but are based on stocks held in the United States.

Thus, we are vulnerable to a cut-off in supplies. Added to this is the large increase in global oil prices associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Perhaps the best response here would be a major public inquiry leading to a complete reset of policy. The goal of electrification should be central to the terms of reference of such a policy.

The need for urgent action on climate has become increasingly evident in recent years, but has had little impact on Australian government policy. Action is now an electoral imperative for Labor, if it is to retain majority government after the next election.

21 thoughts on “Will a Labor majority stunt climate action? If the government wants a second term, more climate ambition is essential

  1. It does take the edge off the voting and debating pressure coming from Teals in the HoR, but they still need the Greens onside, plus another, in the Senate
    I hope they do get pushed, and don’t dig their heels on this
    We will be able to tell quickly whether they are listening. The LNP certainly weren’t!
    They are perfectly placed to make use of their federal currency issuer status to shape, then invest in, steps towards climate transition and new manufacturing that we desperately need. This should be possible without contributing to inflation and hopefully the external pressures on this will subside anyway

  2. Agree with you John that it is in Labor’s political interest to shift to a higher 2030 target and take action to implement it. Chris Bowen however has jumped straight in with statements that he’s not for turning. He’s saying he deliberately designed the Labor climate policies so they could be implemented without the support of the Senate. https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/labor-deliberately-designed-climate-policies-to-skip-over-the-crossbench-20220531-p5apty.html

  3. Martin Connolly,

    Not to mention their Federal taxing powers which are at lest equally important.

    Tax the Rich. Tax Wealth. Tax Land. Tax Windfall financial and property gains. Make TNCs pay taxes! Jail users of tax havens and confiscate all their wealth. Nationalise natural monopolies. Regulate financial instruments. Ban cryptocurrencies.

    Finally, tax CO2 emissions hard. Implement the highest estimate of negative externalities as a tax.

  4. It seems to come down even bright people seeing the view within the straight-jacketing suffocation of neo liberalist boundaries as reality. Think of Plato’s Cave.

    When the treasurer announced there was nothing the government could do about soaring power prices after decades of rampant abuse of the resource(s) and the operating, by those operating against the community interest, I spat my cornflakes.

    No, Sonny Jim, you helped sign up to it with your “bipartisanship” nonsenses on FTA’s, secrecy and and accountabilty. What’s more, the “neo bunkum for forty years now is a proven failure and only an alibi for looting.

    He can’t do anything, even to hypothetically save his skin if it were the case?

    Less “messaging” and more action.

  5. Announcing stronger controls on gas and coal now would be political dynamite. Australia currently faces the worst conventional energy shortages for decades. The cold snap in the south will not help and a long winter ahead of us. I think you have to address what is the case and not merely sloganize for stricter measures.

    https://www.theage.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/biggest-energy-crisis-in-50-years-east-coast-cold-snap-ignites-gas-price-fears-20220601-p5aqap.html

  6. Why does Australia, a country with enormous supplies of solar energy, wind energy, gas and coal face an energy crisis? It is absurd and a direct result of the policies of the corporations, neoliberal wreckers and the idiotic, rejected Morrison government.

    Australia can kill two birds with one stone. We can greatly reduce exports of thermal coal and gas, keeping much of it in the ground to reduce global CO2 emissions and using a relatively small part of the stores to produce power until our full transition of solar power and wind power is effected. Australia does not live on gas and coal income. Most of that income goes off-shore as profits to global energy giants like Chevron.

    Power need not be costly in Australia. We can easily nationalize what we need to.

    Australia’s non-service exports include (with non-service export percentages);

    Metalliferous ores and metal scrap account for 29 percent of total exports;
    Coal, coke and briquettes 15 percent;
    food and live animals 14 percent,
    gas 7 percent.
    manufactured goods 6 percent,
    machinery and transport equipment 6 percent,
    mainly non-ferrous metals 4 percent.

    We can easily afford reduce gas and thermal coal exports to zero if need be, to reserve such fuels for the energy transition. I am sick to the eye teeth of neoliberals saying we can’t do these things. Of course we can do these things if we re-arrange our economy. Neoliberals only care about their own share income, they barely pay taxes and they don’t give a damn about excluded and struggling Australians. “There are 3.24 million people (13.6%) living below the poverty line of 50% of median income – including 774,000 children (17.7%) and 424,800 young people (13.9%).” – “Poverty in Australia, ACOSS, UNSW. That is a disgrace. Time to reduce the profit share of the economy and shift it to workers and the poor. Time for the capitalists and rentiers to pay the piper.

  7. “I spat my cornflakes” too, when reading… Harry, parroting “Australia currently faces the worst conventional energy shortages for decades.”.

    FACT: In 2019-20 Australia  consumed 6,014 PJ and we produced 20,055 PJ.

    “the solution to the [ energy ‘crisis’] coronavirus crisis heavily depends on individuals’ behaviours, which in turn are directly affected by the news.”
    https://johnquiggin.com/2022/05/30/monday-message-board-556/comment-page-1/#comment-253365

    The story is just another example of rhetorical validity and emotive uncritical reading hiding the facts by a news business trying to make money. Me too Harry. 

    Worse, such bullcrap news produces fodder for Questionable News cycle. “A Professor of Economics said “Australia currently faces the worst conventional energy shortages for decades” – will be the next click bait sister publication news headline. 

    Bullsh!¥-crap. No other word for it. Because “the federal government to [may at anytime] invoke the Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism (ADGSM), which would reserve an amount of gas that must be sold domestically.”, from your linked article Harry.

    Facts not Business page “news” with headlines such as 
    – “‘Biggest energy crisis in 50 years’: East coast cold snap ignites gas price fears” –
    – making for emotive triggers and logic & critical thinking amnesia induction ala; 
    ● ‘Biggest [insert cllickbait multiplier] 
    ● crisis [emotive fear induction bypassing neocortex]
    ● in 50 years’ [invoke precedent to reinforce emotive fear induction bypassing neocortex]
    ● East coast [appeal to east because we don’t make money in the west and ignore logic and play tribal local card 
    ● cold snap [include fear of bodily function and double meaning (the weather and “I don’t want to be cold!”)]
    ● ignites [faux intelligence again bypassing critical thought, and invoke precedent to reinforce emotive fear induction bypassing neocortex] 
    ● gas price [hip pocket to reinforce emotive fear induction bypassing neocortex]
    ● fears” [see above x10. And Betrand Russell below]

    It took three – yes 3 journos – to write that crap. Paid in clicks.

    YET! FACT: In 2019-20 Australia  consumed 6,014 PJ and we produced 20,055 PJ.

    So the energy export ‘crisis’ has about 60% in reserve, able to be switched over to domestic at the stroke of a pen. Insert Ikon rant here re capitalism and neoliberals. And mine re ‘news’.

    If anyone wants to see “the worst conventional energy shortages”, all you have to do is point to export-land, a real place where we think money & FTA’s equates to actual energy and warmth. And where Australia is being well and truly shorted, by news, neoliberals and capital & power.
    *

    Facts here, not business ‘news’:

    “Energy consumption
    “Australia’s energy consumption fell by 2.9% in 2019-20 to 6,014 PJ. This compares with average growth of 0.7% a year in the prior decade (2009-10 to 2018-19). The drop in consumption in 2019-20 was 182 PJ.

    “Fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) accounted for 93% of Australia’s primary energy mix in 2019-20. Oil accounted for the largest share of Australia’s primary energy mix in 2019-20, at 37%, followed by coal (28%) and gas (27%). Renewable energy sources accounted for 7%.”
    https://www.energy.gov.au/data/energy-consumption

    “Energy production
    “Energy production rose by 2% in 2019-20, to the highest ever level of 20,055 PJ. Coal accounted for 64% of Australia’s energy production in 2019-20, followed by natural gas at 30% of Australia’s energy production.

    “Australia is a substantial net exporter of energy, including coal and natural gas, with net exports equating to over two-thirds of production.”
    https://www.energy.gov.au/data/energy-production
    *

    Bertrand Russell said of;
    “Fear, at present, overshadows the world. The [energy ‘crisis’, bad news stories] atom bomb and the bacterial bomb, wielded by the wicked communist or the wicked capitalist as the case may be, make Washington and the Kremlin tremble, and drive men further along the road toward the abyss. If matters are to improve, the first and essential step is to find a way of diminishing fear.”
    wikiquote.org/wiki/Bertrand_Russell
    *

    We have to ask ourselves why, as Harry said “Announcing stronger controls on gas and coal now would be political dynamite.”.

    Why? Who would make it so? Wouldn’t news stories with facts make enacting controls on gas & coal a comfort, not political dynamite?

    The answer to the energy ‘crisis’ is to fix news and journaliam, capital & power, not energy supplies. No ammount of Lesson 1 or 2 will suffice.

  8. I don’t understand how a cold snap can cause a domestic shortage of gas supply, let alone a massive spike in domestic prices. Didn’t gas retailers know that Winter Is Coming? It isn’t like you need to study climate science to anticipate surges in demand for heating as Winter is approaching. Are we seeing a kind of price manipulation such as is seen in electricity markets, where generators claim they cannot supply the expected demand until prices spike and suddenly they can.

    Lots of the people in the gas industry are climate science deniers I suppose – it being in their financial interests to support Doubt, Deny, Delay politicking – and presumably they would expect Winters and cold spells to be as cold as they’ve been in the past – and credible climate scientists haven’t ever claimed cold air masses from Southern Ocean and Antarctica would cease to reach Australia.

    To the question – the pressure on Labor has to be kept up and the extreme price volatility of fossil fuels presented as reason to commit to more renewable energy and encouraging electrification of heating with heat pumps. I don’t think they really have their hearts in it but we ought to be able to end the previous government’s de-facto position of passing equal or more government funding to fossil fuel companies – often for blatant greenwashing like CCS and Hydrogen from fossil fuels – whenever they give any funding to renewables.

  9. mrkenfabian,

    Exactly so. We can view much of the astonishingly sudden energy crisis (in Australia) as a “capital strike” and/or a lockout and/or withholding of available resources to extract price gouging, windfall profits. This is insofar as the energy crisis involves coal, gas, solar and wind power. What can’t be attributed to that we can correctly blame on past governments’ neoliberal policy.

    I don’t think the Australian public is going to allow the corporations or the government(s) to get away with this kind of BS anymore. Neither should we. Ee ought to plan our economy a bit more, especially in relation to natural monopolies and public utilities. The free market is clearly unreliable, unsuitable and unwilling to do these tasks properly. All they do is funnel money up to the corporates and the rich and leave people without necessities or unable to afford them.

    Our real limit on becoming more democratic socialist is that the global corporations and global finance capital aided and abetted by the USA government and others like the UK would attack us with capital strikes and speculative currency attacks intended to damage our economy and nation. Maybe even sanctions. That’s the way the system works. But we should go as far as we can short of major attacks of that kind.

  10. I agree with John’s point that ‘Labor will surely set a higher target by the next election. If the aim is to secure the support of teal independents, the target could jump to a 60% cut by 2030.’

    This ratchetting up of the carbon emissions reduction targets at each COG meeting as we approach 2030 is a key part of the architecture of the Paris agreements, and it is an approach that seems to be working.
    It should be recognised that just getting to 43% by 2030 will involve much hard work because of the negligence of the Coalition governments in the last decade. A 43%.reduction means 82% of electricity from renewable sources which means lots of coal power plants to close, lots of just transitions to manage and lots of renewable energy, transmission and storage to put in. The penetration of electric cars is abysmally low and that will take some time and effort to change because of low turnover of the car fleet. And the hard to abate sectors are hard, though the progress towards cheap green hydrogen is very promising.

    We need to do better than 43% by 2030, but it won’t be achieved by waving a magic wand and saying our target is now 60% or whatever. So as John says

    ‘For the moment, however, what matters is not the symbolism of a target, but the policies needed to get us there’.

    Ralph Evans also argues that the focus should not be on the numerical target but on the policies.
    https://johnmenadue.com/what-emissions-target-should-the-greens-and-teals-aim-for/

    I see the policy that would have the most impact would be massive direct government investment in renewable energy with the rate of return requirement being only the long term bond rate of 3% or preferably even less. I’m sure it took a long time for the Tasmanian HEC to recover its investment in the hydro dams, but that didn’t matter to the Tasmanian Government as the cheap energy from the HEC enabled them to attract metal processing and manufacturing plants. In this case, the reason for going for lower than a 3% rate of return would be the carbon emission reduction benefits, the jobs created and the productivity improvements.

    Note: I agree that it is unfortunate that Labor ruled out tighter fuel emission standards, but there is a sense that it’s almost too late for such a policy to have any significant effect. There would need to be at least 2 years notice of such a policy, so it would only apply to new petrol/diesel cars from 2024. I would be hoping we were approaching 40% of new cars being electric by 2024, so the fuel emission standards would be applying to an ever diminishing number of cars, so therefore not much effect.

  11. Democratic governments can only NOT do things if they give away all their powers to corporations. I am not in favor of corporatocracy. Of course, legal and financial arrangements (and physical infrastructures) are hard to change. They cannot be changed overnight. But “hard to change” is not “impossible to change”. The corporatists, capitalists and neoliberals want us to believe that nothing is changeable. Everything as it is now, in terms of business arrangements, is exactly how it has to remain indefinitely. There can be no change, according to them.

    I don’t accept that. There has to be change. For a start we must stop using gas, oil and coal or we get runaway climate change. The current system is completely unsustainable. Change it or face mass deaths on a multi-billion lives scale. Thus, it is appropriate to begin making large changes and to begin making them now. With Australian gas, the appropriate change is to begin phasing out all gas exports preparatory to leaving the rest of the gas in the ground. It might be appropriate to divert some of that gas to domestic use to help fuel the full transition to renewable energy. We have to begin taking power back from the corporations. Otherwise we can never act in the national interest or the biosphere interest.

    But some think it fine for Chevron executives to tell Australia what to do and Australians how to live (in energy poverty) when we have some of the best solar, wind and even gas reserves in the world. But sure, let Chevron shareholders, mostly overseas, take the cake and leave ordinary Aussies a few crumbs. all while destroying the climate and the planet. Great plan!

  12. The rise in demand from gas generators filling in for coal plant failures might explain some of the shortage but assumes they don’t maintain any reserves in case of things like… coal plant failures. Again, the failure to anticipate Winter demand (including maintaining some domestic reserve capacity) looks inexplicable to me.

  13. mrkenfabian,

    Neoliberal capitalists do these things on purpose. It’s all manipulated. They sabotage true competition. They sabotage society. They sabotage production and distribution. They sabotage health. They sacrifice workers. All deliberate for their own narrow profit even if it sinks the nation and the people. Time to re-read Veblen.

  14. Perhaps some of you saw an amazing documentaryon SBS, perhaps a fortnight ago, examining Boeing and its 737 MAX aircraft.
    I mention above on detecting further interest in the psychic make up of modern globalist neoliberalist, avery, very peculiar mentality to this writer’s thinking. Won’t link, tired.
    But you will walk away a better informed person if you see this doco.

  15. Paul Walter,

    Yep, seen that doco. Also worth watching is the Three Mile Island doco on Netflix. Worth watching Dopesick and Pandemic(s) too (based on true stories) on Disney Plus. “Pandemics” fictionalizes the near Ebola Outbreak from a lab in Maryland and the Anthrax letter attacks in the US.

    Combining these in our mind we are lead to several general thoughts. Corporations, militaries an governments are highly dishonest and ruin the lives of and likely kill whistleblowers in some cases (Karen Silkwood). We are never told the truth about what happens in high security faculties. Even Level 4 lab leaks do occur and are usually denied and hushed up. The chances that gain of function research created the Wuhan strain of SARS2, with US and Chinese researchers implicated, are quite high. The chances that it accidentally leaked from the lab are also quite high.

  16. mrkenfabian (at JUNE 2, 2022 AT 12:22 PM): – “I don’t understand how a cold snap can cause a domestic shortage of gas supply, let alone a massive spike in domestic prices. Didn’t gas retailers know that Winter Is Coming?

    You may wish to listen to the podcast of ABC Radio National PM for Jun 2, from time interval 0:01:07 through to 0:05:45, re Australia’s gas supply crisis. Gas analyst Bruce Robertson (from IEEFA) blames a succession of federal and state governments, both Labor and Coalition, over many years for the current supply and prices predicament.
    https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/pm/race-to-solve-the-gas-crisis/13901584

    I’d suggest the seeds of the current energy security predicament were planted way back during the Howard regime, made increasingly worse by a succession of federal and state governments – roughly two decades of woeful energy policy incompetence. We are now savoring the bitter fruits of those efforts.
    https://crudeoilpeak.info/howards-energy-policy-failure-2004

    Matt @crudeoilpeak tweeted yesterday:

    @BreakfastNews Sarah McNamara, Energy Council told Lisa Miller this morning 3/6/22 that there is no systemic failure in the #Australian gas & energy crisis. Of course there is. It’s called #peakgas @mjrowland68 @David_Speers @simonahac @Bowenchris @MichaelWestBiz @AlanKohler

  17. Looted with Labor’s blessing. $90bn. Started before Howard –
    “Australia gets paid for gas mined from under its waters by the “petroleum resource rent tax” set up by the Hawke government in 1988.”

    paul walter says: “What’s more, the “neo bunkum for forty years now is a proven failure and only an alibi for looting.”

    Looted. = $90 billion.
    (yes I understand that figure would be different if we taxed & traded gas differently).

    We have a policy & tax crisis, evidenced by energy price & supply ‘crisis’. NOT a gas crisis.

    A total overhaul of tax policy including the petroleum resource rent tax. Will Labor do such? – $90 billion for Australia. + $90bn to capital. What are the opportunity costs? 

    As Harry Clarke says “Announcing stronger controls on gas and coal now would be political dynamite.”

    Not if we ran secret deliberations and votes, excluding lobbyists. (Barring lobbyist noise fanned by faux news the political cost is political death?)              

         “Mills primary weapon was secrecy.

         “Unlike the chairmen of the other recently “modernized” committees, Mills kept his committee hearings and markup sessions closed, and he made sure that House-Senate conference committees on tax-related legislation remained closed as well. Despite their attempts, he shut out the House Speaker, the President, the press, other members of Congress and most importantly the lobbyists.”

    https://congressionalresearch.org/Inequality/SexScandal-WilburMills-Inequality.html

    (h/t N Gruen)
    *

    Minus $90bn…

    ” It has come under increasing pressure as energy prices climb by six times the average pay rise for east-coast consumers while multinationals extract record levels of liquefied natural gas for export to overseas markets.”

    “The belief, in the face of statistical evidence derived from official government figures, that the Australian and UK fiscal regimes are not somehow aberrant seems akin to the drunken driver’s conviction that it is actually everybody else who is going the wrong way down the motorway.” said  Mr Carlos Boué, a former industry consultant.

    From 2018;
    “Staggering’: $90 billion lost in resources tax

    By Eryk Bagshaw
    March 12, 2018

    “In one of a suite of new submissions to a Senate inquiry, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies academic Juan Carlos Boué warned unless Australia “radically overhauled its fiscal regime” it would have the second lowest share of government revenue from oil and gas in the world.

    “Australia is on track to eclipse Qatar as the largest exporter of gas by 2020, but is expected to only earn $600 million in 2018 – the same amount of revenue the government earns in beer tax every year – compared to Qatar’s $26.6 billion.
    ….
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/staggering-90-billion-lost-in-resources-tax-20180305-p4z2uv.html
    *

    2016:
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/oct/11/fears-australia-losing-billions-in-liquefied-natural-gas-tax-sparks-calls-for-inquiry
    *

    “Australia gets paid for gas mined from under its waters by the “petroleum resource rent tax” set up by the Hawke government in 1988.

    “But payments peaked at around A$2.5 billion in 2000-01. They are now less than half that, and much lower still as a share of the economy and as a share of gas exported.

    “The government’s December budget update predicts petroleum resource rent tax revenue of just $1.15 billion this financial year, revised down from the $1.4 billion expected in the May budget.

    “It has pencilled in only $1.15 billion for each of the next three years.

    “Qatar, which exports the about the same amount of gas as Australia, is said to have got more than A$20 billion in 2018.”

    https://theconversation.com/in-the-midst-of-an-lng-export-boom-why-are-we-getting-so-little-for-our-gas-131461

  18. Yes, this is the distribution of rewards from resources that the neoliberals advocate: nothing more for poor people nor for people on minimum wages. Everything extra for the already rich shareholders. Wage push inflation is touted as the problem even when inflation leads wages (which have been stagnant). Profit push inflation is ignored even when the profit share of the economy has soared and is soaring while wages remain flat. This is the disingenuous economics of rich privelege.

    Even worse, differential inflation is ignored. See this article.

    https://economicsfromthetopdown.com/2021/11/24/the-truth-about-inflation/

    Examining differential inflation reveals that inflation is a “granular” or differential phenomenon not an “average-able” phenomenon. At the consumer end, the baskets of goods people buy, and even have to buy, influence how they are affected by differential inflation. Differential inflation also redistributes wealth. Referring only to headline inflation and only using headline inflation in macro-economic policy (if that is what is done) misses the finer targeting needed to assist people. Welfare stabilizers will only partly assist in most cases. More structural changes are necessary too. IMHO.

  19. Indeed, the strong pro-climate vote this election means a more ambitious policy will be needed if Labor is to have any hope of retaining majority government for a second term.

    Katharine Murphy tweeted on Jun 2:

    Greg Mullins from Emergency Leaders for Climate Action says on Labor’s 43% emissions reduction target: “I’m confident those targets will be ramped up in the next few years”. He says the new government will listen to expert advice. Mullins favours a 75% cut #auspol

    Also see The Guardian article by Katharine Murphy and Adam Morton headlined Ex-fire chief predicts Labor will strengthen 2030 climate target after meeting minister, published Jun 2.

    In the podcast of ABC Radio National PM for Jun 2, from time interval 0:05:45 through to 0:07:35, there’s a segment reporting on Albanese’s press conference with Greg Mullins. Mullins said:

    Well, what a stark contrast to a couple of years ago when Emergency Leaders for Climate Action tried to warn the then Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, that we were facing a bushfire catastrophe, and that was back in early 2019. … 43% is a lot better than 26 to 28% – we’ll work on that – and I think, Minister, we did say today that if you meet and beat 43%, there is a trophy at the end of it for you, and that is the safety of our kids and grandkids.
    https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/pm/race-to-solve-the-gas-crisis/13901584

    Meanwhile, an interesting tweet thread was posted by Dr Jacquelyn Gill, a paleoecologist and Assistant Professor of climate science at the University of Maine, on Jun 4.

    CO2 levels have reached those of the mid-Pliocene, over 4 million years ago, when sea levels were between 5 and 25 meters higher than today, and temperatures were 2-3 degrees C warmer than today.

    Is this what our world is going to look like, now?

    No, and here’s why:

    The Isthmus of Panama currently blocks warm water flowing around the equator, unlike in the mid-Pliocene. The Greenland Ice Sheet reflects some of the sun’s energy back into space, unlike in the mid-Pliocene where it hadn’t yet formed.

    We need to take care of the Greenland Ice Sheet, because it takes care of us.

  20. Director of Climate Energy Finance Tim Buckley said recently on ABC TV:

    It’s been a crisis that has, as you said, very, very clear elements. There’s a short-term and a long-term crisis element, and there are short- and long-term solutions required. So the short-term crisis is instigated by the combination of coal unreliability, and gas unaffordability. But I would really emphasize, we need to deal with both the budget crisis, the energy crisis, the climate crisis.

    Narrabri will have no impact on the short- or medium-term – zero. So, any claims that it will by the Santos CEO, is self-interest.

    The President of America, President Biden, introduced wartime measures to actually help solve this permanently, and I think that’s the sort of thinking we need. We need really bold thinking. Not, let’s develop Narrabri, let’s destroy the water table of New South Wales.
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-18/strategies-needed-to-tackle-australias-energy/13935394

    Professor Kevin Anderson from the Tyndall Centre at Manchester University, in the YouTube video titled Kevin Anderson methane is a transition fuel to 4ºC, published Jun 5, IMO was telling it bluntly, including:

    To do it in the timeframe to stay within 1.5, I disagree with virtually all the economists on this that it’s going to be – enthusiastic economists for this transition – I don’t think it will be cheap. I think it will be very, very costly, but much less cost than not doing it. I think we’ve underplayed the cost of making these transitions. There’s not just the economic cost, but the social disruption that is required, particularly in the wealthy parts of the world, as we rapidly make this transition.

    The scale of the emergency we face today is considerably more challenging than it was in 2015. It was very challenging in 2015. But, you know, there were options then that you had, which are now off the table. And every year we choose to fail, or – and I think this is an important build point – every year we choose to do something that makes us feel OK and we say we are making a step in the right direction, the point, the reason I’m raising that is because I regularly hear that, “well that’s better than doing nothing”, but it’s still a step backwards. A step in the right direction which isn’t a large enough step in the right direction, is a step backwards, just not as far back as it would otherwise have been. So, we are not making progress – we’re just not regressing as fast as we could be. And so I think that’s important, to bear that in mind, that every year we fail we go backwards and it gets more challenging.

    But do we hear that debate amongst the people that are controlling the established message? Of course we don’t. We don’t hear anything like that at all. And we don’t hear enough people, although there is more people now, decrying the nonsense that is spouted by that establishment, by those elites.

    In 2022, that a highly educated member of the British Cabinet can say that, can suggest we should reclassifying gas as green fuel tells us something about how come the status quo is very much locked-in to the old way of doing things.

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