Climate Change According to Greens
The Greens leader’s attempt to “explain” his party’s loss of votes in recent elections has led him down a track which could result in his displacement as leader. His response has been to bring back into public debate the extremist view of Greens that climate change causes many of the problems which society faces. On this occasion the problem is bushfires and the alleged failure of the Turnbull government to take sufficient action to reduce CO2 emissions.
This thesis has led to its ridiculing in a spate of letters (see Letters on Greens), including one by me which is below and an editorial in The Australian saying that “Senator Di Natale and his party have shown they lack the policies and expertise to make a constructive contribution to the nation” (see Editorial on Greens). Andrew Bolt goes further in describing the Greens as “vultures” andpointing out that “nothing Australia could do would make any measurable difference to temperatures. We’re just too small, making up only 1.3 per cent of the world’s emissions. What’s more, satellite data shows the world’s temperature last month was just 0.2 degrees above the average for the past 30 years. What tiny part of that tiny warming (some of it natural) could we have changed by cutting our emissions even more? And what difference would that have made to the fires? So Di Natale is either a liar or a fool, in my opinion” (see Bolt on Greens).
However, the best Turnbull could manage was to say “Look, I’m disappointed that the Greens would try to politicise an event like this. I mean this has been shocking destruction of property … Thank heaven there have been no lives lost, but that’s a great tribute to the community, to the firefighters, to all of that preparation and resilience. But this is not the time to politicise a disaster like this”. Environment Minister Frydenberg has issued no press release on the attitude of the Greens.
In fact, it is an opportunity to use exactly what The Australian and Bolt have done. But Turnbull and his ministers have so locked themselves into emissions reduction policies that they find it difficult to criticise even the green extremists – because they are adopting policies which are not all that different!
Di Natale Misses the Point on Reasons for Bushfires
(Letter Published in The Australian, 22 March, 2018. Square bracketed bits deleted by Ed)
Having lost the Batman by-election, and lost votes in the South Australian one, the Greens are desperately searching for ways to bring back voters. Hence, you report that their leader Di Natale has seized on the bushfires recently experienced to blame the federal government’s failure to address climate change and allowing conditions conducive to [hurricanes and] bushfires (“Greens fire up climate row”, 19/3).
[Instead,] he suggests, we need more usage of renewable energy, the high use of which was the main reason why Labor lost the South Australian election! That aside, [even] the last IPCC report in 2014 said its modeling concluded that “it’s likely the number of tropical cyclones will either decrease or remain essentially unchanged”.
It is highly unlikely that increased usage of renewable would lead to reduced hurricanes and bushfires. The most likely cause of the latter is the increased restrictions on clearing which Greens support and which was a [major] cause of the dreadful Tathra fires.
How Labor won the 2014 Victorian Election
It is not often that I agree with the editorials in The Age. But with the heading “ Andrews’ ALP guilty of taxpayer fraud”, today’s editorial is different in including a statement that “Premier Daniel Andrews and his government … have transgressed too often”. It is making this statement following the report by the Victorian Ombudsman on the strategy used by Labor in the 2014 election.
This involved the hiring of 5500 “volunteers”, known as the red shirts, who organised door-knocking and phone bank operations and were paid about $390,000 from 21 Labor MPs’ public accounts for staff allowances. Andrews says that this money has now been paid back from Labor funds and that this makes it all OK. But the Andrews government also spent about $1.0 mn trying, through a legal action in the High Court, to stop the Ombudsman from making her report (see further in How Andrews Won 2014 Election).
Bolt argues that this “Disgrace is too hard to swallow” (see Bolt on Labor’s win in 2014) and it is difficult to see that the government can get away with doing nothing further, even in its own interests with an election in November. One media report suggests that Attorney General Martin Pakula should fall on his own sword.
While elections have different backgrounds, this event must increase the chances of a win to the Victorian Liberals. It could also help lift the chances of the federal Coalition even under Turnbull.