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Turnbull and Rudd Press Morrison For Strong Position on Climate


Former Prime Ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd have criticised on Monday current head of the government Mr. Scott Morrison for his conservative stance on climate policy.

Both politicians emphasised that the change of the US President has huge national and international implications for Morrison’s stance on climate change since the Democratic Party’s view on this issue has evolved during the last four years.

Mr Rudd and Mr Turnbull remarked on the consequences of the change in White House for Prime Minister Morrison on the ABC Insiders show.

According to Kevin Rudd, 70 per cent of Australian trade partners, including the US, Japan, China, and the European countries, have accepted the mid-century carbon target.

70 per cent of Australian trade partners have accepted
the mid-century carbon target.

The excuse of Morrison's administration that Australia can hide in the shadows has disappeared overnight with Joe Biden’s win, Mr. Rudd argued.

Labor politician has emphasised that the upcoming fifth anniversary of the Paris agreement raised popular expectations to commit to a steeper target in 2030. It is important, he said, that Australia will take action. 

My appeal to Morrison today is to use this change in Washington to swallow your political pride and get real on mid-century carbon neutrality and a new trajectory to 2030, Mr. Rudd stated.

He added that Labor also should stand a stronger position on the higher target by 2030.

Liberal Party Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stated that Americans would lead on climate again. It will be a standard of international trade agenda, as well, he emphasised.

We have an opportunity to be a clean energy super-power in Australia. We have an opportunity to be much more ambitious, have cheaper electricity from the zero-emissions source because of our extraordinary solar and wind resources, Mr. Turnbull emphasised.

Australia has an opportunity to be a clean energy super-power.

Former Prime Minister has strongly criticised the government's gas-based recovery economic program calling it a political “bs”.

Mr. Turnbull suggested, saying that he can speak with authority, that the current Prime Minister is afraid of the fraction of the Liberal Party and the Murdoch media attack if he would decide to make any changes. 

They would go after him, as they did with me, Mr. Turnbull explained. He is walking on eggshells, he added.


But the rejection of the carbon emission target, and more broadly, the economic climate policy was the main element of victory of Scott Morrison led Liberal Party during the last elections. Labor lost because it was its main theme, if not the number one proposal, during the campaign.

Liberal ads argued, at that time, that the economic cost of Australia meeting its emissions reduction target under the agreement was estimated to be $52 billion in net present value terms, over the period 2018-2030. “This equates to $8,566 per family in Australia”, the author of the ad explained.

The rejection of the carbon emission target, and more broadly,
the economic climate policy was the main reason of Liberal's victory.

For instance, The Australian, quoted Mr. Brian Fisher, an economist who forecasted a 0.8 per cent fall in growth by 2030 if Labor’s emissions reduction target of 45 per cent is adopted.
That would equate to $264 billion, but could be as high as $542 billion depending on the specifics of rules that would allow companies to buy international carbon credits to offset their obligations.

It’s not disastrous, but it is a drop off, Dr Fisher emphasised on ABC during the last campaign.


It may be true that Australia could take a slightly different approach to climate policies, however, it would require a proverbial one step back from both sides.

Proponents would have to agree that the liquidation of jobs due to the rising costs for the resources-based industry in a time of the new wave of unemployment is unreasonable. But the opponents should initiate the open public discussion on what Australia could do now and what actions need to wait until the economy recovers.

Both sides of this political debate would agree that the ambitious but empty promises, or worse an obligation with deadly consequences for already struggling workers due to the pandemic and automatisation, are senseless.

It is also unlikely that Scott Morrison, due to the harsh criticism, will change his position soon because the majority of his political capital is based on the opposition to the Paris Agreement targets.

Australians trust that both former Prime Ministers deciding to criticise their successor are focused on the Common Good that is the success of the current government economic policies. But there is also a risk that this criticism can contribute to the instability of government.


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