ScoMo Should Follow BoJo On Net Zero Pause

Written by:
16 March 2022
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The West has played Russian roulette for more than two decades by outsourcing their energy supply needs to hostile nations, while presenting themselves as environmentally virtuous by pushing inter­national net zero emissions ­targets.

Following the invasion of Ukraine, western leaders are waking up fast to the fact their predecessors have left us all in the firing line.

Today, energy security is an ever more important component of our national security matrix and, with the federal election looming, Australia desperately needs a plan to secure its energy resources in an ­increasingly hostile Asia-Pacific region.

For years the cosseted elites in their comfortable inner suburbs of cities around Australia have demanded Australia ­surrender its energy security by adopting net zero emissions ­targets.

The elites’ net zero push has never had much concern for who it affects.

This is primarily because they can afford to meet higher costs of energy and transportation, are employed in industries that are not affected by such changes and would never deign to mix with those who are.

Despite the principled position the Prime Minister took to the 2019 election that his government would not back net zero, the campaign of the elites has caused him to have a mid-term about-face, despite the mandate Australians gave him.

So important was this about-face, Scott Morrison told Australians our relationship with trading partners would suffer if we did not adopt net zero. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg went so far as to suggest Australia would be a pariah on the international stage if net zero wasn’t adopted quick smart, even suggesting that failing to submit would make your home loan more expensive.

Quoted approvingly in The Guardian in September last year, Frydenberg claimed the values of international fund managers should take precedent over the results of the 2019 election, stating “increasingly, institution investors are themselves committing to the net zero goal, like BlackRock, Fidelity and Vanguard, three of the biggest fund managers in the world”.

But now our key allies and partners are rapidly changing their tune.

Arguably, no one pushed Australia harder to adopt net zero than UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Yet this week, Mr Johnson asked for a “climate change pass” so he can ­secure the United Kingdom’s ­energy supply after relying on Russia for too long.

Prior to the United Nations’ net zero kumbaya drum-circle fest in Glasgow last year, Germany’s ambassador to Australia, Thomas Fitschen, said he wanted Australia to set more ambitious climate targets.

Yet in the face of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Germany’s economic Minister, a Greens Party MP, has floated keeping their nuclear and coal-fired power stations open for far longer than originally proposed under the country’s environment policies, to stave off their looming energy security crisis caused by outsourcing their energy supply to Russia.

The policies pursued under the guise of net zero, such as closing down oil refineries and limiting coal and gas development, are not just economic matters. They are now serious issues of national security.

In Australia, by contrast, it is the policy of the Greens to ban all new coal, gas and oil projects. However, exactly how Australia would defend itself without its own base-load power supply has never been ­explained.

And it’s not just political leaders that have called for an urgent reassessment of our energy security.

Renewable energy and electrical vehicle champion Elon Musk has even called for an immediate increase in oil and gas output, ­acknowledging that so called sustainable energy solutions “simply cannot react instantaneously to make up for Russian oil and gas ­exports”.

What is so significant about Musk’s comments is as he himself has recognised, they are at odds with his own direct commercial interests, but he is willing to wear a hit on the bottom line to shore up American energy independence.

Contrast that with the big corporate tycoons in Australia who have their green snouts so far in the trough they have barely noticed that petrol prices have just smashed through the $2 mark and are rising fast.

Australia needs to face the fact the world was a completely different place in October 2021 when Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg signed us up to net zero.

The policies pursued under the guise of net zero, such as closing down oil refineries and limiting coal and gas development, are not just economic matters. They are now ­serious issues of national security.

Australia has an abundance of the resources, with over 2000 years’ worth of coal, close to one-third of known global uranium deposits and an abundance of gas and crude oil.

But we have become laggards in the development of our energy ­resources and maintain little more than 1.5 days of oil reserves to fuel domestic consumption should the worst happen.

Working co-operatively with friends and allies is an important part of statecraft, so too is knowing when to put Australia’s national ­security interests above all else.

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