‘CUT THE CRAP’: Climate Council responds to dodgy climate claims from the Liberal-National Party

03.05.22 By
This content is more than 2 years old

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie says Australians are sick to death of political doublespeak, and want their elected representatives to do more on climate change – and fast. 

Liberal Minister for Finance Simon Birmingham appeared on ABC News Breakfast this morning responding to the Climate Council’s new climate risk map tool. A number of claims made by the Minister are misleading, a misdirection or demonstrably false. 

Quotes are attributable to Amanda McKenzie.

Claim: “Australia’s emissions reductions are ahead of much of the rest of the world.”

Factcheck: false. 

“Over eight years the federal government has demonstrably failed to tackle climate change and has left Australians unprepared for worsening extreme weather. Australia ranks dead last among comparable nations. Emissions in electricity have increased by a third since 1990 and transport by more than a half.

“When it comes to reducing emissions from electricity and moving beyond fossil fuels, Australia has made almost no progress. 

“The rollout of renewable energy in the electricity sector – that has largely occurred in spite of federal government inaction – has resulted in some welcome emissions reductions. However, this has been offset by increased fossil fuel use in federal government-backed projects elsewhere.”

Claim: “We’re reduced our emissions by 20%.”

Factcheck: misleading. (Refer to the ABC’s RMIT Factcheck here.) 

“Saying something repeatedly doesn’t make it true. This claim is based on a frequently debunked accounting fudge that misrepresents Australia’s emissions performance, relative to other countries’.”

Claim: “Our technology, not taxes approach.”

Factcheck: meaningless slogan. 

“There are readily available technologies like solar, wind, storage and electric vehicles that could be scaled up rapidly in Australia. The government could be backing in these technologies, which would take a significant bite out of Australia’s emissions, reducing power bills and bringing substantial benefit to human health  – but it refuses to.

“The federal government has no credible policies that will achieve such outcomes.”

Claim: “We’re meeting and beating our targets as a nation.” 

Factcheck: misleading. 

“Our 2030 emissions reduction target is woeful, weak and well below what the science says is necessary. Other developed countries, and most major economies, have committed to roughly halving their emissions by 2030, while Australia is only committed to reducing emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels.

“There’s no prize for “beating” the most pathetic targets in the developed world.”

Claim: “These reports reflect upon the global trend, which has continued to see countries like India and China increasing their emissions, and we’ll continue to play our part…” 

Factcheck: Misdirection. 

“Australia’s first responsibility as a developed country is to reduce its own emissions. Moreover, many developing countries are taking more ambitious steps than Australia, even though they bear less historical responsibility for climate change and have far lower emissions per capita.

“The United Nations Secretary-General described Australia as “a hold out” for refusing to do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions this decade.”

Claim: “Impacts of climate change, just like impacts of inflation…or oil price shocks… can buffet economies and countries like Australia… and it’s where you need to have strong, solid economic plans to make sure Australians have employment opportunities, lowest possible taxes, and can best possible withstand these kind of shocks.” 

Factcheck: Misleading. 

“Australia’s top economists overwhelmingly agree that climate change and the environment is number one issue for the incoming federal government – above housing affordability and availability, health, tax reform, employment/wage growth or education. 

“This Climate Council report demonstrates the enormous costs of climate inaction to everyday Australians. On the flipside, there are enormous economic opportunities for Australia in taking decisive and rapid action to cut emissions this decade,” Ms McKenzie said.  

Media please contact: Jane Gardner on 0438 130 905 / jane.gardner@climatecouncil.org.au

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.

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