For all the sound and fury of activists and their cheerleaders in the mainstream media, climate politics has never been an election-winner in Australia.

Sure, Kevin Rudd banged on about “the great moral challenge of our time”, but that wasn’t why people voted for him. When push came to shove, resources policy was his downfall. Julia Gillard was caned for her carbon tax. Malcolm Turnbull threw away a massive majority by pandering to the green-left. Pro-coal sentiment delivered stunning results to the Coalition in Queensland and WA at the last election, while Bill Shorten was hammered for trying to have an each-way bet on coal.

Yet now Scott Morrison is jumping on the “net-zero” bandwagon: has he just thrown away the next election?

Scott Morrison is preparing an integrated climate change plan to more swiftly transition Australia’s energy exports from fossil fuels towards new low emissions technologies and cleaner energy sources to avoid the nation being left behind as the world moves towards a net zero future.

Ahead of the upcoming Glasgow climate summit where he is under pressure to adopt a net-zero emissions target by 2050, the Prime Minister told The Australian he was advocating for climate action involving realistic “plans, not just a number and a date”.

It’s this kind of each-way bet that’s not going to convince anyone. Nor is the perception that Morrison is being influenced by the green-whipped British PM.

Unfortunately the noise from the “doctors’ wives” wing of the Liberals and greedy corporate rent-seekers is drowning out common sense.

Liberal MPs, banks and business leaders are urging the government to embrace net-zero emissions by 2050 and raise ambitions on 2030 targets, with 70 former diplomats joining the push on Monday by signing an open letter to Mr Morrison and Mr Joyce pushing for “urgent action.”

The Australian

And, sure enough, the grifting corporates are holding their hands out for all that sweet, sweet taxpayers’ money.

Australia’s biggest hydrogen developers have called on the Morrison government to create a $19bn Net Zero fund, aimed at slashing emissions and speeding up the fuel’s rollout to the steel and heavy transport industries and in the nation’s gas sector by 2030.

With business leaders calling on Scott Morrison to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050 and adopt more ambitious 2030 targets, the industry wants the big commitment from Canberra to ensure business can become a global hydrogen player by 2030 and a top-three ­exporter of the fuel to Asian markets.

The fund would be managed by a newly established Net Zero Authority, covering research through to commercialisation, grants and finance and ensuring the right policy settings are in place.

Some of the country’s biggest investors and developers – including ANZ, NAB, Woodside Petroleum, Origin Energy, Wesfarmers and Fortescue Metals Group – are members of the Australian Hydrogen Council. Its blueprint calls for $10bn in seed funding and a top-up of $1bn annually through to the end of this decade, to be allocated to business through grants and loans.

The Australian

And there it is: gibsmedat free money!

If these corporate giants are so convinced that hydrogen is such a winner, they’d be pouring their own money in, hand over fist. The fact that they want the taxpayer to bear the cost, not themselves should be taken as an indication of just how much they really believe in hydrogen. As for hectoring mining billionaires, blithering that “our planet is cooking”: if they really believed their own horse-puckey, they wouldn’t be taking billions from the world’s single largest carbon emitter.

Money talks, bullshit walks, fellas.

We’ve seen it all before: hot rocks, tidal power, solar thermal, wind. Solyndra in the US. Germany burning wood from Canadian forests and calling it “emissions-free”. Fool us once…

Morrison is already in trouble, lagging in the polls mostly thanks to (mostly unfairly) shouldering the public blame for the Covid policies of (mostly Labor) state premiers. Handing over tens of billions to corporate scammers when everyone else is forced into a post-Covid belt-tightening isn’t going to be a big winner, either: not for voters, not for the economy. Caving in to noisy, greedy lobbyists yet again is neither going to win back disaffected Coalition supporters nor satisfy the green-left who’ll never vote Coalition anyway.

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Has Scott Morrison Just Lost the Next Election?

Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In the last decade...