Member for Goldstein Tim Wilson, who boasts below of having been schooled in climate science, popped up after Wentworth to urge, as The Australian put it, “action on emissions reduction”. This stirred memories at Quadrant Online, where the then-IPA scholar contributed extended coverage from Copenhagen of politicians, bureaucrats, NGOs, promoters of green gimcrackery and seekers of other people’s money demanding some of those very same actions “on emissions reduction.” We dug those dispatches out of the archives, as Tim’s tone in 2009 seemed at odds with his apparent endorsement of Wentworth winner Kerryn Phelps’ call for yet more “action on emissions reduction.”
Today Tim writes to Quadrant and The Australian to tell us that his view is more nuanced than a mere comparison of what he said then and what he says now might suggest to less subtle souls.
I enjoyed my first Cut and Paste trip down memory lane for a while (Green Libs: from Copenhagen farce to Paris targets, 25/10/2018) that pulled together select quotes over a decade implying I’ve had inconsistent views on cutting emissions.
The select quotes can be summarised: ‘Goldstein constituents expect the Coalition to have a credibly (sic) policy and so do I’ and ‘radical activists use climate debates to undermine free markets and won’t front the world’s poor to explain the cost of what they seek to impose’.
I stand by both views, though confess enjoy using cheeky humour to mock radical left-wing activists who are a parody of themselves.
As the only Federal MP who has studied climate science at a postgraduate level I take these issues seriously and neither dismiss them, nor slave to them.
In case anyone’s wondering what my views are, they’re encapsulated as follows: we should take the primary science seriously and be sceptical of hysteria and unsupportable claims; countries should seek to cooperate, but ultimately determine their own emissions policies and not have them imposed by the United Nations; Australia’s policies should act consistent with driving economic growth; consistent with that objective sustainable emissions reduction will principally be achieved through technology, not taxes; and the future is going to be awesome.
Tim Wilson MP
Federal Liberal Member for Goldstein
Clear on that? Do you grasp at a glance how emissions reductions will be “achieved through technology, not taxes” when there is not a wind tower, solar farm, abandoned ‘hot rocks’ project, big battery or wrecked and rusting tidal generator that has not been underwritten by the public purse? If not, if Tim’s turn of phrase in 2018 has you baffled, then his view of action on emissions reduction, circa 2013, might clarify things. Or perhaps not. He wrote then (emphasis added):
Recently the Abbott government announced it wouldn’t be lumbering Australia with more burdensome emissions cuts at this week’s climate change negotiations in Warsaw, Poland.
Instead the bipartisan 5 per cent cut of emissions off 2000 levels would remain and no further tax dollars would be on offer for emissions reduction financing programs.
It’s difficult to overstate the strategic realignment of the new government’s sensible policy change.
If Tim’s position remains opaque in the eyes of some, perhaps his thoughts concerning “action on emissions reduction” from 2011 will clarify matters. Long before the US abandoned Paris, and with India and China never having been in it, Tim identified the ruinous folly of setting the world a virtuous example.
… greenhouse gas emissions are a global challenge, the externality is also global, and can therefore only be addressed with a global carbon price.
Australia showing leadership may make us feel warm and fuzzy, but it doesn’t address the challenge if there is no global price to feed into…
… What’s sad is that while we are trying to lead from the front, while other countries are walking in the opposite direction, we need leadership to address challenges we can directly influence.
For those curious how Tim’s evolved view of “action on emissions reduction” has gathered so much nuance, the full archive of his climate-change writings prior to entering parliament can be found here.
Roger Franklin is the editor at Quadrant Online. A recent quarterly electricity bill for his small, one-person house, home office and a cat, who does quite well in the dark, came to just shy of $1000