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Climate policy in 2022 is no longer a political bin-fire – but it remains a smouldering issue for voters

Climate policy in 2022 is no longer a political bin-fire – but it remains a smouldering issue for voters

firefighter holds head while lying down

This federal election seems less concerned with climate change than any other in the past 15 year’s political debate. Unlike in 2010, 2013 and 2016 – when governments were elected and leaders deposed over climate policy – this time there’s no brutal contest over the issue.

There are no calls to have emissions trading schemes or Greens. cavalcade into Queensland’s coal-mining hinterland, and no Labor PrevaricationOver the Adani coalmine. The election is shaping up as a contest over other issues – leadership integrity, crisis management, economic nous and the cost of living.

Even so, and although overshadowed by the COVID pandemic, the current term of government has been framed by extreme climate events – first the Black Summer bushfires and, more recently, floods.

In 2019, climate change determined how Around 13%of Australians voted. And while it’s early days in the campaign, Numerous PollsAccording to some, climate change is still a key issue for voters. If they’re right, the Coalition is in trouble.

firefighter holds head while lying down
Voters will never forget the horrors of the Black Summer fires.
David Mariuz

Climate emergencies fuel climate anxiety

Public anxiety about the future climate change is increasing. The Lowy Institute It has been found60% of Australians believe that global warming poses a serious and urgent threat. The same poll showed 55% of Australians say the government’s energy policy should prioritise “reducing carbon emissions” – up eight points since 2019.

The climate vote will be influenced by many factors. They include: personal experience of disaster and recovery, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s leadership on the issue, the government’s performance in reducing emissions, power prices and energy security, and competing parties’ credibility and promises on climate action.

There are mixed results regarding the effects of extreme weather on voting intentions. For example, while SomeIt is said to be beneficial to parties that have greener policies according to studies. OthersAccording to polls, voters value economic security after a disaster.

However, the Morrison government was also accused of Weak leadershipDuring recent natural disasters and being Too slowTo provide assistance afterward. These perceptions, especially in disaster-stricken areas, are likely be a major hindrance to the government.

The election, of course, will not be decided on the overall swing, but what happens in marginal seats and those where credible independent candidates – many of them with climate action high on their agendas – pose a real threat to incumbents.

The next government will likely be decided by around 25 electorates. The Coalition was only narrowly victorious in the 2019 election. Currently holdsNine seats with a margin less than 4%. Labor holds 14 marginal seats, and independents have two.

Seven of these seats were hard hit by the Black Summer fires and this year’s floods. Five are marginal seats held by the ALP – Dobell, Eden-Monaro, Macquarie and Gilmore in NSW, and Lilley in Queensland.

If the fires and floods do swing votes this election, they’re likely to secure Labor incumbents in these seats.

The other two – Page in NSW and Gippsland in Victoria – are safe Nationals seats and likely to remain so.

Independents who campaign on climate policy are set to challenge Liberal supremacy at three urban seats GoldsteinVictoria is home to Wentworth North SydneyIn NSW.

Zali Steggall is an independent incumbent climate expert and appears to be in a secure position. Warringah.

woman stands in fornt of climate protest signs
Zali Steggall is set to be re-elected as a pro-climate-independent.
Marion Rae/AAP

A credibility problem

Scott Morrison has a climate credibility crisis. By displaying his aforementioned treasurer title, Scott Morrison has established himself. Load of coal in Parliament, as prime minister he’s been accused of lacking empathy for victims of climate disasters.

Morrison’s trip to Hawaii during the Black Summer fires continues to haunt his reputation. And given the ongoing sensitivities around his disaster responsiveness, his government’s assistance after the recent floods was surprisingly sluggish.

Australia’s low climate policy ambition and persistent refusal to increase its 2030 emissions target saw it branded a laggard at last year’s crucial United Nations climate summit in Glasgow.

The government has sought to claim credit for Australia’s success in reducing emissions from the energy sector. However, the majority of momentum comes from Territories and states policies, and private investment – coupled with the dynamismand market competitiveness of renewable energy sectors.

And federal plans for a “Gas-fired Recovery” from the pandemic make no EconomicOr eco sense.

Continue reading:
“The Australian way”: How Morrison trashed Australia’s brand at COP26

Promises, promises

The road to election is paved with old promises that have been broken and lit by new ones (see table below).

The short-term national emission target is the key indicator. The Coalition will maintain a 26-28% reduction in emissions from 2005 levels by 2030. Labor wants to achieve a 43% reduction in the same time frame. The Greens and Independents want more and would legislate for their goals.

The Coalition does not have a renewable energy target. Labor however, promises that renewables will make up 82% of the national grid in 2030.

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A forest carpeted with tall grass.

But how do they get there? This year’s federal budget – which barely mentioned climate change – outline the Coalition’s express commitments. It includes funding for the production of liquified gas. But no declining funding for renewable energy.

The budget is also important Offers$12.3 billion will be spent on road infrastructure, and $3.7 billion on rail for next year. But there’s little for electric vehicles – crucial for cutting transport emissions and fuel costs.

Labor is promising $20 billionFor powergrid upgrades or renewables $200 millionSolar banks and community batteries are available. discount schemeFor electric cars

Seeking to repair Australia’s international reputation, Labor is also offering to Hosting a future United Nations climate conference, which traditionally serves to enhance the host nation’s domestic performance.

But, it is striking that neither major party mentions fossils. fuel exports – the overwhelming and growing contributor to Australia’s global carbon footprint.

Made with Flourish

What is the next term?

Obviously, we don’t yet know the persuasion of the next government – nor whether it will rely on support from minor parties and independents.

But we Do know it will confront growing pressure for tougher climate targets and action – from the electorate, our international peers and the rising number of climate-related legal challenges.

As this month’s ReportThe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has indicated that extreme events will invariably intensify and will require more coordinated responses.

Ever more forcefully, we can expect global warming to continue shaping Australia’s political landscape.

Continue reading:
The Morrison government will announce a 2050 net zero commitment. Here’s a list with ‘to dos’ for each sector

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