March 7th 2020


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Beyond the Great Divide

EDITORIAL Holden, China, covid19: Time for industry reset

CANBERRA OBSERVED Political promises on the Never Never never never work well for the nation

CLIMATE POLITICS Business joins in climate change chorus

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Divided Democrats will help re-elect Donald Trump

GENDER POLITICS Project Nettie: Science takes on ideology

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Myth-busting China's 'soft power'

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Covid19 outbreak hits China's growth, imperils Communist Party

POLITICS AND SOCIETY What should the champions of democracy care about?

HISTORY Putting Lenin on the train: History's biggest blunder

NCC CONFERENCE 2020 Strengthening family, freedom, and sovereignty in a hostile world

HUMOUR Hooray for our premiers

MUSIC Handel: A composer who knew the value of a quick turnaround

CINEMA Emma: Handsome, clever, rich

BOOK REVIEW Useful but limited analysis of the breakdown of distinctions today

BOOK REVIEW The successive possessors of the West's first printed book

EBOOK: READ THIS

POETRY

AS THE WORLD TURNS

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Cardinal Pell's appeal in the High Court this week

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CLIMATE POLITICS
Business joins in climate change chorus


by Chris McCormack

News Weekly, March 7, 2020

 

  • Business told to agree to climate rules or face global regulators
  • Insurers claim climate change means premiums will have to rise
  • BCA recommends $660 billion be spent on climate change

Business groups, financial regulators and millionaire bankers are turning the screws to force governments and companies to act on climate change “or go broke”.

Mark Carney, $52 million man and governor of the Bank of England, in an interview with The Guardian, said: “Companies that don’t adapt [to climate change] will go bankrupt without question … Industries, sectors and firms that do very well during [the transition to zero carbon] will be part of the solution … but there will also be ones that lag behind and they will be punished.”

Carney claimed that U.S. coal companies had lost 90 per cent of their value and, in what appeared to be a veiled threat, said those banks invested in such areas “will suffer accordingly”.

He told big corporations they had two years to agree to rules for reporting climate risks or face compulsory ones imposed by global regulators.

Meanwhile, an Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) paper claimed only one in five companies it regulates was meeting voluntary climate-risk disclosure targets set out by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, an international private-sector initiative chaired by U.S. billionaire Michael Bloomberg. APRA said there was “no excuse for inaction”.

Business Council of Australia (BCA) chief Jennifer Westacott channelled Mark Carney by calling for net zero emissions (NZE) by 2050 in Australia. The BCA says its “membership is made up of the CEOs of Australia’s top companies” and lists 134 member companies, including energy-intensive manufacturers such as Alcoa, BHP Billiton, Boral, Rio Tinto and others. How they reconcile NZE with their continuing survival, is a mystery.

The BCA scoping paper suggests that at least $660 billion be spent by 2050 in pursuit of NZE – preferably without use of carryover carbon credits – and that we should adopt a market-based carbon price.

Furthermore, all domestic road, sea and air transport should be electrified or “require significant new technology development, which is more likely to be imported”. Clearly, the BCA lives in an alternate reality.

Eliminating agricultural emissions “requires tailored solutions and efficient monitoring and reporting techniques”; aka, centralised control, which Queensland farmers have had a taste of in the form of restrictive land-clearing laws that have locked up great proportions of their productive land (See News Weekly, August 24, 2019, p9).

One has to wonder whether the views and livelihoods of all workers in the 134 member companies were considered or whether the chief executives are pushing their own agenda, the consequences be damned.

Pursuing NZE through a purely solar/wind/battery-driven power grid is pure fantasy. Glencore Coal’s then-CEO Peter Freyberg told media in 2017 that South Australia’s (largest in the world) lithium ion battery would power one of their aluminium smelters for 7.7 minutes. Glencore contributed $15.6 billion to the Australian economy in 2018.

Meanwhile, Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said: “Charting a course for Australia to [NZE] by 2050 … is a high priority.”

Groupthink and illogic have infected big business big time.

Despite insurer QBE posting a 41 per cent profit increase for the year to December, chief executive Pat Regan told The Australian that insurance premiums might become unaffordable for customers living in areas at risk of extreme weather. QBE has altered its catastrophe models to factor in the expected impacts of climate change out to 2100.

Insurance Australia Group CEO Peter Harmer said climate change meant premiums would have to rise.

ALP climate spokesman Mark Butler said that, on current settings, it would take Australia 230 years to reach NZE. Is this because he knows that electricity comprises only 36 per cent of our carbon-dioxide emissions and deep cuts would have to be made to every sector of the economy, destroying jobs and our standard of living?

Nonetheless, Butler welcomed independent MP Zali Steggall’s infantile NZE bill, which, if the Government has any regard for the national interest, will not see the light of day.

Likewise, the Government should rule out any possibility of signing the NZE target that is to be considered by 80 countries at the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow in November. Nationals Leader Michael McCormack said signing could see “farmers being forced offshore, having to import food like there’s no tomorrow.”

Senator Matt Canavan warned he might cross the floor if the Government sought an NZE. If the Liberals ignore the views of the Nationals on this, it could split the Coalition.




























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