Did anyone see Barnaby Joyce interviewed by Andrew Bolt last week (Sky, Oct 17)? I always thought Joyce was a bit of a hayseed, but I did give him credit for principle. Until now. Questioned by Bolt in regard to Turnbull’s you-beaut National Energy Guarantee (NEG), Joyce revealed himself as one more officer on the bridge of the Coalition’s fast transit to oblivion. Maybe he always was.
His acknowledgement (or should I say admission?) that he had read Bjorn Lomborg’s excellent article in The Australian of a week-or-so ago was accompanied by the face-saving pretense that he didn’t really know much about Lomborg or his credentials. It might have been my imagination, but Joyce seemed at pains to convey the impression he had stumbled across the article, didn’t think much of it and wouldn’t be investing more thought in the entirely valid points Lomborg raises about the massive cost of renewables and alleged climate-change mitigation when judged against its negligible, if any, impact on global temperatures.
Then again, Joyce would say that. With catastropharianism still the prevailing creed on the Government benches, Gaia forbid that anyone should accuse the deputy prime minister of being a global warming denier! Like all sensible people, he must know that the climate-change hoax is a bottomless trough for rent-seekers and climate-change careerists, yet he elevated party loyalty and a devotion to national self-harm above evidence and reason.
Joyce next waffled in true Turnbull style, defending the indefensible and failing signally to explain how a plan almost certain to be rejected by Labor, the Greens, half the Senate cross-benchers and all the Labor state premiers could possibly create certainty for any outfit mulling the construction of a new coal-fired power station. He finished with a pathetic cop-out, even by the standards of our political class. Pressed if we should have signed up to the Paris agreement in the first place, Joyce sought refuge in the line that we must stand by our international commitments. Ruining what’s left of Australia’s industrial base and socking it to consumers with every latest power bill is the honourable and necessary thing to do, he seemed to be saying.
What, no room for re-evaluation as circumstances change? No room for manoeuvre if an international agreement is now widely recognised as adversely and seriously impacting the national interest? No second thoughts now that Donald Trump’s America has pulled out, taking most of the climatecrats’ funding with it? Did anyone in Cabinet argue that it might have been worth holding off on ratification until things settle down a bit? Surely someone uttered that thought in the councils of the Coalition, yet in speaking with Bolt, Joyce declined to acknowledge the logic of such observations.
Did Joyce actually read the Lomborg article? If he did, how could someone of intelligence fail to see that ‘doing the honourable thing’ by sticking with our Paris commitments — which, incidentally, are aspirational, not concrete — will not only inflict immeasurable harm on Australia but will do not a scintilla of good for the climate.
Lomborg’s article is a lucid and concise, yet comprehensive, exposition of the CAGW dilemma (I use that term in deference to Lomborg, who is a believer. Normally, I’d refer to it as a scam pure and simple). Quoting sources from the UNFCC and Nature magazine, his premise is both rigourously logical and his case unarguable. At least from the perspective of anyone claiming to be a conservative. Once again, here is the link. This is an article that should be read.
Regarding Joyce, Neville Chamberlain’s surrender at Munich comes to mind. But there is a difference. We can give Chamberlain the benefit of the doubt and credit him with actually believing what he said about peace in his time. Barnaby Joyce, not so much. That piece of paper in his rhetorical hand, his prime minister’s cobbled-together NEG, offers not even the chimera of a hope for the return of rationality.