Scott Morrison's got a climate plan! Distract, avoid, sidestep and keep him in charge

Scott Morrison’s got a climate plan! Distract, avoid, sidestep and keep him in charge

Prime Minister Scott Morrison finally has a plan to help tackle the climate crisis.

It’s taken him a long time to get to this point, a major bushfire crisis and international condemnation to spur him into action, but finally he’s got an idea.

And the best thing is that Morrison’s plan is just as good as emissions reductions. Even better. So we won’t have to worry about improving our reductions target, and we can keep using those carryover credits to meet our already soft goals.

Morrison’s plan also comes as he seems to finally be agreeing we’re living in a changing climate, with him conceding we’ll be dealing with more environmental challenges over the next decade and beyond.

So what exactly is this grand plan? Hazard reduction burning.

So simple, yet so effective. If only we’d thought of this earlier. Greta Thunberg could have stayed in school. Attendees at the World Economic Forum wouldn’t be torturing themselves into figuring out how to deal with the pesky problem of climate change. Maybe we could have saved a few Australian prime ministers along the way.

Morrison told Sky News last night that hazard reduction burning is “as important as emissions reduction” when it comes to climate action.

“You talk about action on climate change, that’s what that is. Hazard reduction is action to take account of the climate we’re living in, which is a more challenging environment over the next decade and beyond,” he said.

Indeed, hazard reduction burning is not only as important as emissions reduction but, “many would argue even more so because it has an even more direct, practical impact on the safety of a person going into a bushfire season.”

So there is it. The Australian answer to climate change. We’re effectively going to give up on achieving any kind of global action to instead purely focus on mitigating some of the risks associated with longer and more dangerous bushfire seasons.

This is Morrison’s strategy — not a climate action one, but a communications one — a trick of words designed to distract, to lay blame elsewhere and to demonstrate something’s being done immediately. It’s also Morrison’s strategy of political survival — commit to some kind of simple, environment-relevant action in order to get through the new few years. To not risk the top job. To limp to the next election.

Morrison goes further, sharing more word plays and trickery. More distracting from the big issue by focusing on a side issue:

“There are clear rules and transparency arrangements, we report all the time on what our emissions reductions are,” he said. “But across the country there is not a national system of reporting to track how hazard reduction is progressing.”

As for all those criticising just how this government plans to meet our 2030 emissions reduction targets? It’s a campaign of “misinformation” according to Morrison.

Morrison made his comments as new research finds that more than four in five business executives in Australia believe that climate change will damage their companies — the highest percentage of any of the leaders in the 19 countries surveyed.

It comes as Australia records it hottest and driest year on record, and as global emissions also hit a record high in 2019.

It comes as aid groups come together to urge the Morrison Government to take credible and serious action on climate change, now.

And it comes following Australia’s massive “wake up call” on the effects of climate change. A bushfire crisis that has received widespread international coverage given the scale and level of destruction it caused — with Morrison’s slow response seeing him become a household name internationally and a symbol of climate inaction. The “wake up” call we received is one that had long been predicted — but ignored — even as recently as 2019 when 22 former fire and emergency service chiefs came together to warn about the looming bushfire disaster. As Greg Mullins wrote this week, “we were ignored and trivialised.”

Finally, Morrison’s big climate distraction plan comes as Greta Thunberg addressed the World Economic Forum overnight, saying that it’s not good enough to “cut emissions”, we must end them if we can ever hope to keep temperatures from rising beyond the 1.5 degree mark that scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

“I wonder, what will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing the climate chaos you knowingly brought upon them?” she said.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump also seems to have a plan for climate action.

His is a little different to Scott Morrison’s. Trump’s plan is all about optimism. Hope. Looking ahead. Believing in the future! Ignoring the naysayers and those climate merchants of doom.

He told the World Economic Forum to “reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse.

“Fear and doubt is not a good thought process because this is a time for tremendous hope and joy and optimism and action,” he said.

Nothing to see here. Everything’s under control. Trust the men in charge and it’ll get done.

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