When he was first elected to parliament, I had a sneaking respect for Josh Freudenberg. He seemed to be intelligent rational and forward thinking politician. Rare in this Coalition government as it now turns out.
I also thought he would be an excellent Minister for the newly appointed Malcolm Turnbull who initially appeared to be the Renaissance Man of Australian politics. Freudenberg’s decision to review the Direct Action policy was the kind of initiative that I would have expected of him. It also looked as if Malcolm Turnbull had made a decision to get rid of the hopelessly inadequate Direct Action policy and institute something that might work.
The pigs were waiting on the tarmac, fully laden and ready to go.
But his decision only lasted 24 hours. The Trolls came out from under their bridge and stomped him into submission. Presumably with the acquiescence of the PM.
Katharine Murphy of The Guardian is angry: On climate policy and power prices Turnbull is talking rubbish.
“A report by firm called Jacobs that was commissioned by the energy networks industry, in cooperation with the CSIRO, to look very carefully at Australia’s climate policy options.
The firm looked at which policy would allow Australia to meet the emissions reduction obligations it ratified the Paris international climate agreement with the least impact on households.
The answer was very clear. It was an emissions intensity trading scheme. the report found that if you set up a technology-neutral emissions trading scheme in the electricity industry, and allow trading to happen, there’s an implicit subsidy for low-emission power generation, and that delivers lower prices (an average saving of $216 a year) for consumers than some of the alternatives.”
Wattle Point wind farm. Photo credit: David Clarke.
We should be very clear what this woefully abject surrender to the rabid right climate deniers in the Coalition actually means. It means that Australia will not meet its completely inadequate target of reducing emissions 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2030.
In the light of the failure of Freudenberg’s initiative, it is worth reading Malcolm Turnbull’s speech to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference
Malcolm Turnbull struts his stuff on the international stage
When historians come to write the history of the unfortunate, but inevitable, downfall of Malcolm Turnbull, they will struggle to find reasons for his descent into the slough of political inertia. They will itemise his abject and craven surrender to Tony Abbott and the far right of the Liberal part. But that will only be part of the story.
They may find that there was something more interesting than this, some deep and significant psychological failure in the man that appeared to have made him completely inadequate for the task