Yesterday’s Commentary suggested that Turnbull’s attack on the role played by Shorten as head of the AWU was no more than a start in restoring the Coalition’s polling. Today, Andrew Bolt argues that such a strategy is counter-productive (see article below). He rightly points out that Turnbull’s existing policy on the renewable target will still produce bad results in the form of higher electricity prices – and no benefit in terms of reducing world temperatures. In fact, the current target of 23 per cent by 2020 would not only add further to electricity prices even if it were to be achieved, which is widely regarded as highly unlikely. It would also mean that Australia would be imposing on itself higher costs than in most other countries at a time when US President Trump is likely to include in his policy the abandonment of usage of renewable, or their minimal use.
Hence, while Turnbull has a political advantage in that Labor is aiming for a much higher target, he is merely one of Bolt’s lesser of two evils.
Of course, Turnbull can also say that the Liberal/National parties not currently in office in various states are prepared to agree on lower targets for renewable sources than existing Labor governments there. But to get agreement on a lower target would require the Commonwealth to threaten a penalty if a state does not comply. Is that likely?
Government policies should be based on careful analyses of both a technological and economic nature. But despite having as the head of Prime Minister’s department the former head of the Department of Climate Change (Martin Parkinson), no analysis has been published of what the renewable target should be. Perhaps this being left to the Chief Scientist, who is reputed to have no expertise on climate change.
To present a new image, Turnbull would need to start by announcing a major reduction in the target for renewable.