Doomed Planet

Dear Malcolm

The issue is not an ETS, but a proper national climate policy

Malcolm Turnbull is quoted in today’s papers as saying:

‘I could not possibly lead a party that was on a do-nothing-on-climate-change platform;

and

To do nothing, to literally be a party with nothing to say, which is what some people are suggesting we should be; a party with no ideas, which is what some people are suggesting we should be, is not the party I am prepared to lead.

Mr Turnbull has missed the point entirely, and in breathtaking fashion.

No-one is suggesting doing nothing about climate change. Calamitous natural climatic events such as this year’s bushfires and floods have properly convinced the general public that a national policy to deal with real climate events and change is clearly needed. And surely this week’s tragic news from Indonesia and Samoa underlines the reality that government’s responsibilities lie with dealing better with real natural hazards, not worrying about Playstation-4-created imaginary ones.

A proper hazard reduction and adaptation policy to deal with known future climatic threats is a very different matter to the political question implicit in today’s headlines – which is whether introducing an emissions trading system will do anything to prevent hypothetical, dangerous, human-caused global warming. (Answer: an ETS will have no measurable effect on future climate but will have a hugely damaging effect on the livelihoods and standard of living of all Australians).

Mr Turnbull, and all politicians, need to take careful note of the deadly accurate letter published in today’s Australian by Peter Kelly, to whit:

Congratulations to Peter van Onselen for surveying the Liberal Party backbenchers on their attitude to amending the government’s emissions trading scheme before Copenhagen’s climate change conference. We now know that two-thirds of them are against it.

If the Coalition wants to win the next election, the partyroom should first of all establish for itself that man-causing climate change is an unscientific myth (in fact, it’s a religion). It should then find some political courage and start campaigning against the government’s dangerous and unemployment-gaining ETS. It can be proved easily that the ETS is a tax by another name.

Of course, it’s not just political courage that the Liberals need to take the issue head-on. They initially would have to confront their leader, Malcolm Turnbull, who clearly believes he will lose his seat of Wentworth unless he follows the government line, as he is now doing. So be it.

By campaigning on the truth the Coalition would distinguish itself from the Labor government and give the electorate a choice. As it is, the Coalition is only a slightly more moderate branch of Labor on climate change. Of course, if it found the courage to do this, it would not only give itself some heart but would eventually destabilise the government.

Alongside insisting on an independent judicial enquiry into the science of global warming, the Coalition needs to fashion a cost-effective and real policy to deal with known natural climatic hazards, along the lines suggested in the article “A New Policy Direction for Climate Change”, published in Quadrant in April this year.

A national climate (as opposed to global warming) policy – at the same time as it covers known natural hazards – will also provide for dealing with hypothetical human-caused change, should it emerge in the future.

If Mr Turnbull is not up to the task of providing leadership for such an important national and environmentally significant task as belling the global warming scam, and fashioning a realistic climate hazard policy, then he should indeed be replaced as leader of the Coalition by someone who is.

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