Were you hoping Friday’s student-led climate action protests would act as wake-up call to the federal government?
This is how many changes to policy Australia’s minister for energy and emissions reductions Angus Taylor has announced so far in response: zero.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison enjoyed a lavish ceremony in his honour in the United States but failed to attend the UN Climate Action Summit happening the same weekend in New York.
A right to protest but who cares?
The number of protestors who took to streets across the country in allegiance with environmentalists around the world is difficult to ascertain with certainty and so far reports vary between 300,000 to a million.
Nearly 10,000 rallied across the Northern Rivers alone, gathering in either Lismore, Byron Bay or Tweed.
Others showed their support for protestors either by donating to a fundraiser for student transport to the rally in Byron Bay, by shutting shop for a few hours while the rally was happening or by displaying posters in shop windows.
The students and other climate change protesters were calling for an end to Australia’s fossil fuel industry, especially the coal mining industry.
Later, Mr Taylor told media he supported a right to protest but didn’t think students should be jeopardising their education in order to exercise it.
Australia’s increased emissions? Deny, deny, deny.
The minister for energy and emissions reduction told ABC Insiders viewers on Sunday acknowledging Australia’s increase in emissions every year for the past four years was ‘cherry-picking’ figures.
He said if we took impacts of Australia’s gas exports into account, a decrease in carbon emissions that would have come from coal was apparent.
But under global agreements, each country has its own carbon emissions targets to meet, meaning any reductions in emissions thanks to replacing coal with gas would already be calculated in that country’s figure.
So far, the minister has failed to mention this point and also refuses to apply the same logic of his argument in support of gas to Australia’s coal exports.
Insiders host Fran Kelly asked Mr Taylor on Sunday why coal exports wouldn’t also be taken into account in his maths, given Australia is the world’s second-largest coal exporter.
‘Because gas is such a large-growth industry,’ said Mr Taylor.
Investment in renewables
The minister maintained the government’s promise for Australia to reach its Paris agreement emissions targets ‘in a canter’ and said worries from the renewable energy sector about a lack of investment due to weak government policy were based on information that wasn’t true.
Mr Taylor said he’d been advised investment was booming.