Albanese and Dutton are playing us for fools on the climate

June 17, 2024
Used with permission from Alan Moir,

Despite Earth experiencing month after month of record temperature rises, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition leader Peter Dutton are playing us for fools on climate.

May was the 12th month in a row to break global average temperature records.

While temperatures across Australia have been comparatively moderate over the past year, the global average is frighteningly high.

Africa is experiencing “one of the most intense heatwaves” in its history, according to meteorologist Scott Duncan.

Not only are records being broken; they are being broken by large margins.

Most of the past 12 months were more than 1.5°C above a 1850–1900 baseline.

In other words, the world is not on track to achieve the Paris climate agreement goals.

Labor, at state and federal levels, claims to accept the science on climate change.

It should be making every effort to improve the country’s Paris goals.

Instead, it’s doing the opposite — approving new fossil fuel projects and going slow on national efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Now that Dutton made the scandalous announcement on June 11 that the Coalition will ditch Labor’s already inadequate 43% target by 2030 should it be elected, Labor has been handed an opportunity to grandstand.

But Albanese has nothing to brag about.

Big business is publicly calling on Labor and the Opposition to maintain the national 2030 target. This is because it does not threaten their profit-making.

Nick Feik, writing in The Monthly in March, said: “Australian climate policy has been reverse-engineered to protect the interests of the fossil-fuel industry”.

While noting the widespread adoption of voluntary “net zero by 2050” targets, he said “there’s an obvious problem when these targets are being adopted by the likes of Woodside and Shell, who are meanwhile expanding their fossil-fuel operations”.

Explaining this apparent contradiction, Feik said that “intrinsic to almost all ‘net zero’ commitments are two key factors: only a subset of emissions will be counted and any emissions can be offset”.

Feik pointed out that the 215 companies covered by the government’s “safeguard mechanism” — the main instrument supposedly driving down emissions — could collectively spend as little as $900 million a year between now and 2030 to buy dodgy “offsets”, while their emissions rise.

“If you think that sounds like a heavy impost consider this: the federal government currently subsidises fossil fuels to the value of $11 billion per year”.

No wonder big business is happy with the current arrangements!

Alongside a promise to go slow on climate, Dutton is making a push for nuclear power.

This might seem counter intuitive, given that nuclear is massively unpopular, as well as expensive, slow and fraught with the nuclear waste disposal problem.

But it can be understood as part of Dutton’s dog whistle to his climate denier base and it helps push politics to the right.

Dutton knows that any discussion about nuclear power, and whether the 2030 target is feasible (it is, but not with Labor’s current policies), reduces pressure on Labor to do what is needed for a safe climate.

It helps Labor continue its pro-corporate policies while selling workers, farmers and the younger generation down the drain.

The only way to counteract Dutton’s right-wing pressure is to build a stronger movement for climate action and a stronger ecosocialist left.

This is what Green Left aims to do.

If you want to help defeat both the Labor and Liberal versions of climate denialism, supporting GL will go a long way. You can sign up as a supporter for as little as $5 per month or donate to the Green Left Fighting Fund.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.