close
close
A dark, disastrous shadow destroys our economy: five climate elders on Peter Dutton’s stance on emissions |  Climate crisis

A dark, disastrous shadow destroys our economy: five climate elders on Peter Dutton’s stance on emissions | Climate crisis

A dark, disastrous shadow destroys our economy: five climate elders on Peter Dutton’s stance on emissions |  Climate crisis

Any sense of a ceasefire in Australia’s troubled climate wars was shattered this week after the Coalition said it would not back the country’s 2030 emissions reduction target at the next election.

Peter Dutton’s statement would mean that, if elected, a coalition government will seek to violate a central principle of the global Paris climate agreement that countries should not “roll back” on their climate ambitions.

Dutton also said his party would not adopt any interim targets for the next general election, which could take place in May next year.

“I’m not going to sign a deal that destroys our economy and sends families and small businesses out of business,” Dutton said.

Speaking to Guardian Australia, veterans of international climate negotiations and public advocacy spoke of their anger and disappointment at the Coalition’s position, saying it would damage Australia’s economy and international reputation.

Peter Garrett

Peter Garrett, frontman of rock band Midnight Oil and former Labor environment minister, said the change was surprising and alarming.

“It is a bitter surprise, but it leaves the Coalition unable to govern,” he said.

“Mr Dutton has abolished all responsibility as Coalition leader and has decided to allow the narrow self-interest of the fossil fuel industry to override rational climate policy. This action means that the Coalition has completely abandoned the field of rational policymaking.

“It is alarming in the sense that we do not have a bipartisan base of support for moderate but necessary action to reduce emissions.

“He has cast a big dark shadow over the climate policy debate because we are disappearing back into a hole that he created without any rational evaluation of why he did this other than he seems to believe what the fossil fuel lobbyists are saying.” whispering in his ear.

“It is surprising that a political leader in 2024 can make such a bad decision with a trial of disastrous and destabilizing consequences for his own party.”

erwin jackson

Erwin Jackson has been an observer in climate negotiations since the 1990s and is now policy director of the Climate Change Investors Group, whose members manage $35 trillion in assets globally.

Erwin Jackson: ‘Investors… will roll their eyes and say, “Why do we have to go through this again?”‘ Photography: Climate Change Investor Group

“I remember these same arguments when (Paul) Keating was prime minister and when (John) Howard was prime minister,” Jackson said.

“It’s really very sad to me the fact that the body politic is going down the same old lines and this lack of recognition of how serious the threat that climate change poses to our communities, economy and people.

“We have a lot to gain from action on climate, but we have a lot to lose from inaction.”

Jackson said investor confidence in Australia had increased significantly over the past two years.

“That’s why it’s important that we stay the course. Latter-day investors will roll their eyes and say, “Why do we have to go through this again?”

“We will reach net zero. Politics will follow economics. But the question is whether we want to be passengers or prisoners in that process.”

Lesley Hughes

Professor Lesley Hughes is a pioneering climate scientist and Climate Council councilor with decades of science advocacy under her belt. She is also a member of the Climate Change Authority.

Lesley Hughes: “It is absolutely detrimental to our international reputation.” Photography: James Gourley

Upon learning that Dutton was risking Australia’s international climate credibility, Hughes said he “let out a huge, frustrated groan, followed by some expletives.”

“This shows that the current leadership of the Liberal Party is just as willing to deny and delay as the previous Conservative government. They have made no progress and it is extremely disappointing that there is an active push to reignite the so-called climate wars. We had hoped to have matured beyond that, but apparently not.

skip past newsletter promotion

“It is absolutely detrimental to our international reputation. When Australia became a signatory to the Paris agreement, the condition was that there would be no setbacks and that a more ambitious target would be set every five years.

“There is no consistency in a politician saying he still wants to be part of the Paris agreement and then backtracking. He’s just not on.”

‘The antidote to despair is action’: Lesley Hughes on motivation during a climate crisis – video

Hare

Bill Hare, CEO and senior scientist at Climate Analytics, has been involved in international climate negotiations since the late 1980s.

Bill Hare says opinion polls show that most people want “more climate action, not less.” Photography: Bianca Otero/Zuma Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

Speaking from a UN climate meeting in Bonn, he said Dutton’s remarks were “an incredibly deliberate and destructive regression – the very idea that we’re not going to have a 2030 target and these arguments they’re making that it will destroy economics are totally wrong. ”.

“I just feel a huge sense of anger about the climate crisis that is unfolding around the world and in Australia. I wonder who Dutton is listening to. Who is he?

“Opinion polls say that most people want more climate action, not less.

“We elect politicians to represent our interests and those of our country and we know, to the extent we know anything, that (Dutton’s position) is a dead end for the economy and the planet.”

Hare believes Dutton’s move is a “convenient” distraction for the Albanian government, which he says has continued to approve coal and gas developments while implementing weak climate policy reforms.

“Climate policy is not a left or right issue. Look at Texas, that hotbed of Marxist urinators, which is exploding with wind and solar energy because it’s good business. “Peter Dutton and his party seem to be opposed to those opportunities for Australia.”

Howard Bamsey

Howard Bamsey is a former national and international climate change public servant and former Australian Government Climate Ambassador.

“This type of behavior absolutely undermines the national interest,” says Howard Bamsey. Photography: ANU

“This feels like a debilitating illness that you hoped would go away, but it keeps coming back,” he said.

“The solution (to the climate crisis) is to change the direction of investment and, if taken seriously, this will only confuse investors and boardrooms.

“If (the Liberal Party) complied, it would be devastating for the economy. It seems to me that one reaction would be for investors to move away from Australia.

“In the backrooms of political offices, all these arcane calculations are made that are not based on any reality or national interest.

“I have been a public servant for most of my life and this type of behavior absolutely undermines the national interest. “It is an empty political movement.”