Australia Joyce and his coal obsessives threaten the future of Australian agriculture
How the next 5 years can buy us a decade to solve climate change
Strip out the politics, and the climate change story is very different to the one we've been told.As decades go by and emissions rise, the politics has stayed the same.
While Australia is already an international laggard on climate action, the return of climate denialist and alleged sexual harasser Barnaby Joyce to the deputy prime ministership threatens to elevate us to pariah status. And the extent to which the government can be trusted in relation to any commitments it makes internationally is now under serious question.
Joyce and the claque of far-right, mainly Queensland Nationals he leads aren’t merely opponents of a 2050 net zero target — which, for all the press gallery obsession with it, is too little too late to prevent highly damaging climate change — but will push for more coal-fired power, aiming to increase Australia’s emissions, rather than abate them.
Barnaby Joyce set to return as Nationals boss three years after affair
Barnaby Joyce is set to return as Nationals leader three years after his affair with a staffer became public. Joyce stepped down as the party's head and deputy prime minister on February 26, 2018, when details of his relationship with former press secretary to ex-Treasurer Peter Costello, Vikki Campion, became national headlines.Support for the 54-year-old has been gaining momentum, with a source inside the Nationals telling the Financial Review he is preparing to overthrow current leader Michael McCormack.'Barnaby's got the numbers and the plan is to call a spill on Monday,' they said.
And the mechanism by which they will pursue that goal is a completely secret agreement between two men that will give a handful of MPs a veto over key policies. Australians, let alone the rest of the world, won’t be allowed to see the agreement. Without that transparency, anything the government says in relation to climate cannot be relied upon.
It means that Australia is now governed by a combination of a soft climate denialist and a hard climate denialist who both want more fossil fuel production. The former, Scott Morrison, wants to support gas production and consumption, reflecting the large donations his party receives from the likes of Woodside, Santos and Origin Energy. The latter, Joyce, regards gas as an inferior product to the real thing, coal, and wants the federal government funding coal-fired power plants and more coalmining.
Barnaby Joyce says he returns to Nationals leadership 'a better person'
Barnaby Joyce says he has returned as Nationals leader and deputy prime minister as a "better person" after defeating Michael McCormack in a party room spill. Mr Joyce resumes the position he held from February 2016 to February 2018, when he resigned amid revelations he was expecting a child with a former staffer.He said his three years on the backbench had led him to reflect on his impact on others. © Getty Barnaby Joyce will return to the Nationals leadership. "Well, I acknowledge my faults," he said. "And I resigned as I should and I did.
Video: Albanese's job 'under pressure': Joyce (Sky News Australia)
The only option for other countries aghast at Australia’s bludging on their own efforts to reduce global emissions will be carbon tariffs. Those tariffs will be all the greater when we start investing in new coal-fired power.
Joyce’s elevation also illustrates just how delusional the press gallery fiction of Morrison moving slowly to a more ambitious target always was. While Morrison constantly received credit for minor variations of wording around a nebulous and inadequate target, in fact he never even secured agreement for such a shift. The great Morrison march to 2050 turns out to have been a non-existent commitment to not move to a non-target.
Barnaby Joyce must 'rebuild trust' after Nationals leadership spill, WA leader Mia Davies says
WA Nationals leader Mia Davies, who was one of the first to call for Barnaby Joyce's resignation in 2018, says the federal leadership change is disappointing and it's up to Mr Joyce to rebuild trust.Ms Davies, who is also the state Opposition Leader, was one of the first to call for Mr Joyce to resign when he was previously leader in 2018 following revelations of his affair with former staffer Vikki Campion.
And the dismay that Joyce’s return has provoked among agriculture groups isn’t surprising. The National Farmers’ Federation backed a net zero 2050 target, including agriculture, nearly a year ago. Meat and Livestock Australia is pursuing net zero by 2030 in a sector that is one of our biggest sources of emissions. The dairy sector, also a major contributor, long ago committed to 30% reduction by 2030, which is more ambitious than the Morrison government’s Paris commitment. The federal Nationals are fundamentally at odds with mainstream agricultural interests.
This should be of significant concern to a party that claims to represent agriculture. But the Queensland LNP is a party of fossil fuel companies, not agriculture. A look at political donations points towards another reason why, in NSW, the coal-loving Nationals are on board with a 2050 net zero target and a massive investment in renewables, but the Queensland Nationals are trying to drive more fossil fuels. The NSW Nationals receive barely any donations from fossil fuel interests, with money from Ampol and Santos dwarfed by donations from the hospitality sector, agricultural interests and Manildra, among others.
Joyce returns as deputy PM after spill win
Barnaby Joyce will be sworn in as deputy prime minister after triumphing over Michael McCormack in a Nationals leadership showdown.Mr Joyce will be sworn in at Government House on Tuesday after defeating Michael McCormack in a Nationals leadership spill on Monday.
The LNP, however, has earned more than $700,000 over the past decade from fossil fuel companies, even before counting the hundreds of thousands of dollars contributed by Clive Palmer and his companies. The federal Nationals have also enjoyed hundreds of thousands in donations from Woodside, Santos and other fossil fuel companies.
The obsession of Joyce and his coterie of supporters with fossil fuels will have an impact beyond merely being out of touch with the sector they once purported to represent. Australian agricultural exporters understand that not only does Australia’s climate inaction deprive them of potential opportunities in areas like carbon farming, it places their exports under serious threat of carbon tariffs. That’s where a Morrison-Joyce government, and their secret deal, are taking our industries.
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Barnaby Joyce accused of having 'history of groping women' by WA Labor MP Jackie Jarvis .