After Another Defeat, Climate Policy Threatens To Devour Left Parties
How Scott Morrison Used Labor’s Green Policies Against Them Unless Labor is prepared to rethink the political mistakes that led it to support climate policies that have greater appeal to well-off elites, its electoral prospects will remain bleak. -Jeremy Sammut, Canberra Times, 19 May 2019 “We have lost Australia for now,” warned Penn State climatologist Michael Mann in an email. “A coalition of a small number of bad actors now threaten the survivability of our species,” he said. –Joe (the-end-is-nigh) Romm, Sink Progress, 18 May 2019 Scott Morrison’s ‘miracle’ election win has been cheered by US conservatives and compared to Donald Trump’s surprise 2016 presidential win. The Liberal campaign had emphasised the cost of Labor’s climate change policies – which included reducing carbon emissions by 45 per cent by 2030. And while Labor campaigned against the controversial Adani mine, the Coalition focused on the jobs boost of the new development. On Saturday night, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Labor’s stance on climate had cost them the election. —Daily Mail, 19 May 2019 The coalition successfully made cost the dominant issue in the climate change debate. Climate change may be the first battle in the long war that is reshaping democracy all over the world. —The New York Times, 19 May 2019 For Labor, this is an untrammelled disaster. Climate policy too will need to be re-examined. Climate change destroyed Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard’s prime ministerships; it has now contributed to Bill Shorten’s destruction too. Voters accept the science and they tell pollsters they want something done. But whenever conservatives frame climate policy as a threat to voters’ livelihoods, they win. –Ben Eltham, New Mathilda, 19 May 2019 1) No Climate For Change: How Scott Morrison Used Labor’s Green Policies Against ThemDaily Mail, 19 May 20192) NYT: Why The Green Left Lost Australia’s Climate Change ElectionThe New York Times, 19 May 20193) Unless Labor Ditches Its Climate Policies The Future Looks BleakCanberra Times, 19 May 20194) In Coal We Trust: Australia’s Voters Back Pm Morrison’s Faith In Fossil FuelReuters, 19 May 20195) And Finally: Climate Doomsday Cult Members Fear Human Extinction …Sink Progress, 18 May 20191) No Climate For Change: How Scott Morrison Used Labor’s Green Policies Against ThemDaily Mail, 19 May 2019Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Labor’s stance on climate had cost them the election. John Howard delivers the 2013 Annual GWPF LectureScott Morrison’s ‘miracle’ election win has been cheered by US conservatives and compared to Donald Trump’s surprise 2016 presidential win.The Coalition won despite 55 Newspolls in a row predicting they would lose – echoing how the US president rose to power against pollsters’ predictions in 2016.The Liberal campaign had emphasised the cost of Labor’s climate change policies – which included reducing carbon emissions by 45 per cent by 2030.And while Labor campaigned against the controversial Adani mine, the Coalition focused on the jobs boost of the new development.On Saturday night, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Labor’s stance on climate had cost them the election.After Bill Shorten failed to secure votes in Queensland the Liberal Party elder said Labor did not reassure voters about job security. ‘When they saw a Labor Party prepared to destroy jobs in the name of climate ideology in relation to the Adani min, they said “That’s not for Queensland”‘, he said.On Sunday morning American TV news channel Fox News labelled Mr Morrison’s win as ‘a stunning victory’. American political activist Pamela Geller meanwhile trumpeted ‘the people are taking back their countries from the totalitarian left’.‘Climate advocates had said this election would be a referendum on the current leadership’s positions on climate change,’ Ms Harder wrote.‘The results suggest that either voters don’t care as much about the issue compared to others or they prefer less aggressive measures, as the current leadership is pursuing.’ The New York Times described how ‘the conservative victory also adds Australia to a growing list of countries that have shifted rightward through the politics of grievance, including Brazil, Hungary and Italy. ‘Mr Morrison’s pitch mixed smiles and scaremongering, warning older voters and rural voters in particular that a government of the left would leave them behind and favour condescending elites.’ Full story2) NYT: Why The Green Left Lost Australia’s Climate Change ElectionThe New York Times, 19 May 2019The coalition successfully made cost the dominant issue in the climate change debate. Climate policy costs will be a key battle in the long war that is reshaping democracy all over the world. SYDNEY, Australia — The polls said this would be Australia’s climate change election, when voters confronted harsh reality and elected leaders who would tackle the problem.And in some districts, it was true: Tony Abbott, the former prime minister who stymied climate policy for years, lost to an independent who campaigned on the issue. A few other new candidates prioritizing climate change also won.But over all, Australians shrugged off the warming seas killing the Great Barrier Reef and the extreme drought punishing farmers. On Saturday, in a result that stunned most analysts, they re-elected the conservative coalition that has long resisted plans to sharply cut down on carbon emissions and coal.What it could mean is that the world’s climate wars — already raging for years — are likely to intensify. Left-leaning candidates elsewhere, like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, may learn to avoid making climate a campaign issue, while here in Australia, conservatives face more enraged opponents and a more divided public.“There has to be a reckoning within the coalition about where they stand,” said Amanda McKenzie, chief executive of the Climate Council, an Australian nonprofit. “I think it’s increasingly difficult for them to maintain a position where they don’t talk about climate change.”Even for skeptics, the effects of climate change are becoming harder to deny. Australia just experienced its hottest summer on record. The country’s tropics are spreading south, bringing storms and mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever to places unprepared for such problems, while water shortages have led to major fish die-offs in drying rivers.“This is all playing out in real time, right now,” said Joëlle Gergis, an award-winning climate scientist and writer from the Australian National University. “We are one of the most vulnerable nations in the developed world when it comes to climate change.”And yet the path to victory for Scott Morrison, the incumbent prime minister, will make agreeing on a response more difficult. He and his Liberal-National coalition won thanks not just to their base of older, suburban economic conservatives, but also to a surge of support in Queensland, the rural, coal-producing, sparsely populated state sometimes compared to the American South.The coalition successfully made cost the dominant issue in the climate change debate. One economic model estimated that the 45 percent reduction in carbon emissions proposed by the opposition Labor Party would cost the economy 167,000 jobs and 264 billion Australian dollars, or $181 million. Though a Labor spokesman called the model “dodgy,” Mr. Morrison and his allies used it to argue against extending Australia’s existing efforts to reduce emissions and invest in clean energy.Full story 3) Unless Labor Ditches Its Climate Policies The Party’s Future Looks BleakCanberra Times, 19 May 2019Jeremy SammutUnless Labor is prepared to rethink the political mistakes that led it to support climate policies that have greater appeal to well-off elites, its electoral prospects will remain bleak. The Coalition’s stunning re-election victory is obviously a triumph for Prime Minister Scott Morrison. His campaign strategy of making economic management and the Labor Party’s big-target, big-taxing, transformative agenda the key election issues was a spectacular success….The conventional wisdom amongst most pundits was that in a nation that had voted Yes to same-sex marriage in 2017, ditching Turnbull’s “progressive” approach to dealing with climate change had sealed the electoral fate of the government and made a Labor victory a certainty.This view appeared to be vindicated when, after Turnbull resigned from Parliament, the Liberals lost the by-election in his formerly blue-ribbon safe seat of Wentworth in Sydney’s harbourside inner eastern suburbs. The victor was independent Kerryn Phelps, who campaigned hard – with the assistance of left-wing activist group GetUp! – on the need for action on climate change.Abbott has now met the same fate. After 25 years in Parliament, he has lost his formerly safe seat of Warringah to Zali Steggall, another GetUp!-backed independent candidate zealously demanding “real action” on climate policy.As in Wentworth (which the Liberals will struggle to regain) affluent former Liberal voters who live in harbourside parts of Warringah such as Manly and Mosman have turned against the man who they condemn for strangling Australia’s response to climate change.But what the election result has comprehensively shown is that neither Warringah nor Wentworth is representative of vast swathes of the rest of the nation, especially on climate policy. Wealthy voters who can easily pay higher electricity prices can literally afford to treat climate change as a moral issue requiring action regardless of the cost, and to thereby treat the election as a referendum on the issue.But these sentiments were clearly not shared across the wider electorate. The centre-piece of Labor’s transformative agenda – its 50 per cent renewable energy target and 45 per cent emission reduction polices – did not translate into the election-swinging advantage in the key seats that pundits anticipated.In fact, these policies almost certainly proved a liability, given that Morrison’s focus on economic management heavily targeted Bill Shorten’s repeated failure to explain the cost of his energy policies – a point the Prime Minister effectively drove home during the leaders’ debates.Moreover, Labor’s climate change stance was undoubtedly influential in regional Queensland, where the equivocal attitude Labor displayed to the Adani mine project turned off voters concerned about mining jobs and the long-term future of the coal industry. The overall closeness of the election result suggests that the nation remains divided over climate policy.But having staked so much on this issue, Labor’s election loss can only be viewed as a repudiation of its “progressive” approach.Since the recently departed Bob Hawke’s fourth and final election victory in 1990, the Labor Party has only won two federal elections in its own right: the 1993 GST election and the 2007 WorkChoices election. In both cases, Labor’s victory heavily relied on the political mistakes of the Coalition over tax and industrial relations.Otherwise, Labor’s near 30-year quest to find an election-winning agenda of its own that can form the basis of Hawke-style sustained electoral success has produced a meagre political harvest.Unless Labor is prepared to rethink the political mistakes that led it to support climate policies that have greater appeal to well-off elites of Wentworth and Warringah than to the battlers of Penrith and Picton, its electoral prospects will remain bleak.Full post4) In Coal We Trust: Australia’s Voters Back Pm Morrison’s Faith In Fossil FuelReuters, 19 May 2019MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s re-elected Prime Minister Scott Morrison once brandished a lump of coal in parliament, crying, “This is coal – don’t be afraid!” His surprise win in what some dubbed the ‘climate election’ may have stunned the country, but voters should know what comes next in energy policy – big coal.Battered by extended droughts, damaging floods, and more bushfires, Australian voters had been expected to hand a mandate to the Labor party to pursue its ambitious targets for renewable energy and carbon emissions cuts.Instead, Saturday’s election left them on course to re-elect the Liberal-led center-right coalition headed by Morrison, a devout Pentecostal churchgoer who thanked fellow worshippers for his win at a Sydney church early on Sunday.The same coalition government last year scrapped a bipartisan national energy plan and dumped then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull because he was viewed as anti-coal.Power companies and big energy users, who last year rallied behind the national energy plan to end a decade of policy flip-flops, said on Sunday they wanted to work with the coalition anew to find ways to cut energy bills and boost power and gas supply.“We just need this chaotic environment to stop and give us some real direction,” said Andrew Richards, chief executive of the Energy Users Association of Australia, which represents many of the country’s largest industrial energy users.The country’s power producers – led by AGL Energy, Origin Energy and EnergyAustralia, owned by Hong Kong’s CLP Holdings – want the government to set long-term goals to give them the confidence to invest an estimated A$25 billion ($17 billion) needed for new power supply.“Customers are looking to energy companies and the government to get bills down and secure our energy supplies,” said EnergyAustralia Managing Director Catherine Tanna.“We have an opportunity now to reset our relationships and recommit to working toward a clear, stable and long-term energy policy,” she said in comments emailed to Reuters after Saturday’s election.Full story5) And Finally: Climate Doomsday Cult Members Fear Human Extinction …Sink Progress, 18 May 2019Joe (the-end-is-nigh) RommThe unexpected victory of conservatives in Australia’s election Saturday is bad news for the future of global climate action, warn climate experts.Polls had suggested that the Labor Party, which supports strong climate action, held a narrow lead in recent days. But in the end, Prime Minister Scott Morrison won re-election as his Liberal Party (which is actually conservative) swept to victory.“Australians elected someone who once brought a lump of coal into Parliament urging us to dismiss the warnings from climate scientists, and to dig up more coal instead,” Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, an Australian cognitive scientist, told ThinkProgress in an email. “There is little doubt that his government will do precisely that.”“We have lost Australia for now,” warned Penn State climatologist Michael Mann in an email. “A coalition of a small number of bad actors now threaten the survivability of our species,” he said…. Full shaggy-dog story The post After Another Defeat, Climate Policy Threatens To Devour Left Parties appeared first on The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF).