McKim, Greens have a fully costed to drive Australia’s emissions down
Senator Nicholas McKim Mater of Public Importance Climate Change Chamber Senate: McKim: As I was saying, this evening we had Senator Canavan and Senator Ayres erect some of the biggest straw men I have seen in my time in politics. I’m not going to waste the very short time I have to make this speech in demolishing every single straw man that they put up, but I will say to Senator Ayres: the Greens have a fully costed set of policies that clearly lay out a pathway to drive Australia’s emissions down in line with what the climate science is telling us, which is that we need to start reducing our emissions now, not at some indeterminate time in the future, as proposed by the Labor Party.
Senator Canavan said that we didn’t cost our policies. Every single policy that we took to the last election was costed in the independent rigorous process of the Parliamentary Budget Office. He shouldn’t mislead Australians about what we put before them at the last election. We will again have a rigorously costed policy framework as we approach the next election. Our policies will be in line with what the climate science is telling us.
With a 2050 target, Labor are walking away from Australia’s Paris commitment. Labor’s policy has us on a pathway for three degrees of global warming. The reason they’re doing that is that they’re run by the coal huggers in the Labor Party. Senator Ayres is a classic example of a coal hugger who is standing in the way of strong climate action within the Labor Party. You wouldn’t think it was possible to have an even worse set of climate policies than the Labor Party’s, but the Liberal Party have been bought out by their corporate mates in the fossil fuel sector.
One thing we can categorically state in regard to the cost of reducing emissions is that the longer we leave it the more expensive it will get. The other thing we can categorically state about the costs of reducing emissions is that the cost of not acting to reduce our emissions will be far greater than the costs of acting. The science is abundantly clear. We need to take strong action to reduce our emissions now.
The whole framing of this debate, which has been driven by many in the media—News Corp and many other media outlets, including, disappointingly, some in the ABC—is most unhelpful. The framing is not honest, because there are significant opportunities available for this country to become a global leader in responding to climate change. They including renewable energy generation. They include the hydrogen economy, which, by the way, will only stack up in emissions terms if the hydrogen is created using renewable energy rather than fossil fuel energy. There are major job opportunities available. The Greens have laid out those opportunities, and we will lay them out in our Green New Deal, a historic program for significant public investment in the transition so we can look after people in affected communities. I’m not talking about turning coalminers into baristas here. We are talking about genuine opportunities in manufacturing, in energy generation and in rewilding and reforesting, which is what the science is telling us we need to do to take action to meet Paris targets and to drive global emissions down.
This whole debate is a furphy regardless, because history will show you that even the Treasury department can’t get their budget forecasts right, even for six months into the future. And yet this government comes up and expects people to cost things over the coming decades. It’s a crock, this debate. What we should be focusing on is taking advantage of the opportunities and making sure we support our people through the inevitable transition, because it’s going to come whether we like it or not. The sooner we get with the program, the more opportunities there will be for the transition and the fewer costs there will be to our community.