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October 08th 2010 print

Christopher Carr

Climate action

For the Coalition to provide a coherent alternative, it must challenge the assumptions and theory underlying current Government policy. Dennis Jensen’s call for a Royal Commission into the science of climate change should be a first step.

The Great Divide

Julia Gillard is seeking to create a “community consensus” on the need for a carbon price. She has established the Climate Change Committee that includes the Greens and two independents, and the Climate Change Commission, which will be staffed by true believers in anthropogenic global warming. It is assumed that there is no legitimate scientific doubt that man-made CO2 is the principal driver of climate change.  

However, the Gillard Government is navigating an increasingly difficult political path between a new breed of trendy middle class radicals who have invaded hitherto working class bailiwicks in inner city electorates, and suburban battlers who are becoming increasingly stroppy about rising electricity prices. 

Thus she could be seeking to buy time. The committee’s proceedings will supposedly be confidential, thus lessening pressure on the Government from the Greens and their allies, provided nobody leaks. However, with garrulous Rob Oakeshott now on this committee, the chances of maintaining confidentiality appear remote. And whoever heard of the Greens remaining silent in the face of an opportunity for still more publicity? 

The belief in disastrous anthropogenic climate change is now so pervasive that all too many political conservatives have signed on to what is essentially a leftist agenda. The conservative Liberal-National coalition in Australia has adopted a policy to reduce CO2 emissions by 5% by 2020. Prior to the 2007 General Election, the then politically vulnerable Howard Government signed up to an Emissions Trading System (ETS), contingent on other major countries taking similar steps. However, after the election, unilateralism took hold when then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and then Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, sought to forge a phoney consensus for an ETS ahead of our trading partners. The conservative political base revolted and Turnbull was replaced by Tony Abbott. The conservative parties have now set their faces firmly against any ETS or carbon tax. 

As an alternative, the Coalition took a policy of “direct action” to the recent elections. On one hand, this was an attempt to appeal to an electorate fearful of a carbon price policy that, were it to be “effective”, would reduce living standards. On the other hand, the Coalition sought to appease the priesthood of the man-made global warming crusade. 

How long can the Opposition spokesman on climate change, Greg Hunt, continue to insist that CO2 reduction targets can be met using alternative energy sources and by tree planting, carbon sequestration, etc., without donning any sackcloth? Given that he has proclaimed himself a true believer in man-made global warming, any action short of a savage attack on our carbon-based economy must leave him open to the charge of hypocrisy. 

For the Coalition to provide a coherent alternative, it must challenge the assumptions and theory underlying current Government policy. Dennis Jensen’s call for a Royal Commission into the science of climate change should be a first step. In a Royal Commission, witnesses are required to give evidence under oath and are subject to cross examination. The rules of evidence have to be rigidly adhered to. Other steps could include the establishment of an alternative advisory panel. At the very least, the Coalition should argue for a full public debate. No Opposition, worth its salt, should be allowing either the Climate Change Committee or the just announced Climate Change Commission a free run. By seeking to establish a clear divide between fact and fantasy, the Coalition could both draw a line in the sand and capture the moral high ground.  

If this approach is not followed, the Opposition risks conceding the warmerist narrative and making its opposition to a carbon price appear both populist and incoherent.

See also: Dennis Jensen on “Climate Royal Commission” here…