12
Oct
2017

More Responses on Abbott

Praise for Abbott’s Address from US Scientist

This morning I received a message on Tony Abbott’s London address from the President of The Science and Environmental Policy Project, Ken Haapala, in the US. It was brief but important because Ken is a scientist and an expert on climate change whose weekly messages report on the latest developments in analysing climate changes, including those theses which he judges to be “off the planet”. This message to me was a response to the full text of Abbott’s address which I sent him as an attachment to my Commentary on Tuesday 10 Oct and which I suggested to him is important “both politically and “scientifically”. Haapala’s message to me was

Thank you Des, When I read it, I thought Daring To Doubt was one of the best talks given by a politician in decades. Your comments are most appropriate. Ken H”.

This exchange came almost immediately after the head of the US EPA, Scott Pruit, announced that the Clean Power Plan initiated by Obama is to be repealed. Contrary to my Commentary yesterday, it appears that the CPP had not come into operation because the US Supreme Court had ruled  that the Obama Administration had  “pushed the bounds of their authority so far that the Supreme Court issued a stay – the first in history – to prevent the so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ from taking effect. Any replacement rule that the Trump Administration proposes will be done carefully and properly within the confines of the law.” (for further detail see Obama’s Clean Power Plan Gone. Blacking added).

Judging by reports emanating from Canberra, Turnbull’s Clean Energy Target (CET) will also go!

Further Domestic Responses to Abbott

The initial media reporting of the response to Abbott by Business Leaders gave the impression that they wanted a CET because such a policy it would provide “certainty” in business planning. Because of the inherent lack of certainty about the policy decisions of the political parties (not to mention the science) this was always unrealistic and it remains so. However, contrary to the assessment by The Australian’s David Crowe (see BCA Response to Abbott), and having regard to the likelihood that the CET will be much different to that proposed by Finkel, the CEO of the BCA leaves the issue open when she is reported as saying that “the government should outline its new policy, with or without a clean energy target, before revisiting the target” but adding that “coal should be part of our energy mix”. Crowe has also wrongly implied that Abbott’s proposed lower emissions reduction target would not be accepted by BCA President Grant King: he is reported elsewhere as having a more open mind on energy policy.

Probably the most important media response is by Terry McCrann, not because he repeats his now long standing criticism of the dangerous global warming thesis but because he gives Abbott a big tick (see McCrann on Abbott). His opening remarks say it all viz “TONY Abbott’s speech in London was a seminal event. It finally, if belatedly, drew a line in the sand between energy sanity and insanity and invited politicians, business leaders and indeed voters to join him on the side of sanity”. Of course, there are still many not “on the side of sanity” and The Age has recruited John Hewson to argue for Turnbull to tackle Abbott. That might be judged as a bad political strategy as well as reflecting Hewson’s failure to acknowledge defects in GW.

It may be premature to suggest that, notwithstanding his poor earlier decision-making, with the London address Abbott has re- established himself as having the potential to lead Australia up a reformist path. But there’s also a need to recall that some politicians have had a successful second try.

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