Fossil fuel feud

As one of the world’s largest exporters of fossil fuels, Australia will likely be more affected than most by a shift towards a cleaner, renewable future. Photo: Nick Humphries.

The increasingly fractious relationship between the Federal Liberal and National parties is coming into sharp focus as the world gathers to decide what to do about climate change.
World leaders will come together in Scotland in November for the Glasgow climate summit to develop some sort of international consensus to deal with an issue which could have a far greater global impact than Covid-19.
The trouble is the Australian Government knows its current position is well short of international expectations.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison – just back from enjoying the kudos which comes from rubbing shoulders with international leaders such as Joe Biden and the UK’s Boris Johnson – is now unsure if he will attend.
He must urgently get the National Party to agree to an effective response before the summit to avoid what he fears could be a global embarrassment.
Unfortunately for Mr Morrison his coalition partner is not having a bar of agreeing to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 – even though all states and territories as well as key industries and business groups are in support. It is possible that Mr Morrison will send a political underling to Glasgow to cop the criticism.
As one of the world’s largest exporters of fossil fuels, Australia will likely be more affected than most by a shift towards a cleaner, renewable future.
But like it or not, that reality is coming.
The world won’t stop and wait for a recalcitrant Australia to change its mind and the National MPs must accept the inevitable and work now to develop strategies to take advantage of the new tomorrow.
It appears that farmers – once the National’s core base and a group which will be most affected by a warmer and drier continent – are playing second fiddle to the mining industry.
Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce is correct when he says a cut in the revenue stream from coal exports will have a significant impact in the government’s ability to provide essential services.
However, as his own treasurer Josh Frydenberg acknowledges, climate change and its impacts are not going to go away and will drive an ever increasing shift in the world’s financial systems.
In short, business will not invest in commodities such as dirty fuel.
The rest of the world is playing the long game on this issue while Barnaby Joyce can’t see past next year’s election.