Labor leader Anthony Albanese has pledged to cut emissions by 43% by 2030. Photo/Rick Rycroft
Anthony Albanese’s decisive election victory over the weekend – and the way Scott Morrison lost his government – means Australia will start to take real action on climate change.
In Albanian, Australia will have
a Prime Minister who will seek to build consensus and cohesion rather than sow division and who may even try his hand at a little economic reform.
More than three decades after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change first warned that carbon emissions were warming the planet, Australian businesses appear poised for certainty on climate policy after decades of false starts on both sides of politics.
Labor has pledged to cut emissions by 43% by 2030, compared to the 26-28% reduction proposed by Morrison.
The new government wants four-fifths of the electricity flowing along the power grid to be renewable by 2030. It has also promised to spend A$20 billion to upgrade the transmission network to get energy renewable from windy or sunny sites in rural and regional Australia. towns.
It will also adopt the Morrison government’s safeguard mechanism, requiring Australia’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters to keep their net emissions below a limit set by the government. Albanese promised to lower this limit considerably.
Labor’s policies may not be particularly ambitious, but they are a step ahead of those of Morrison, who claimed to take action on climate change while supporting the coal industry.
As the count continued on Sunday, it looked increasingly likely that Albanese had won a decisive victory and would win the 76 seats needed for Labor to form government without independent support.
Equally significant was the rejection of Liberal Party candidates for the inner city seats of Sydney and Melbourne in favor of no less than seven independents campaigning for action on climate change.
The election of “teal independents” – a mix of blue, on the Conservative side of politics, and green – put climate change at the center of Australian politics and put both major parties on notice. If they want to win government, they will have to have a real plan to reduce emissions.
Albanese vowed to end “climate wars”, the divisive battles between and within major parties that have prevented companies from planning for the future due to uncertainty surrounding the climate policy and the likelihood of it being changed.
He has a chance in the next term to lock in emissions reduction as a permanent feature of the Australian social and economic fabric, in the same way that universal healthcare and pension savings are.
The defeated Liberal and National parties will need to start taking climate change seriously if they are ever to regain government.
Labor might win enough seats to govern on their own, but a minority government shouldn’t prove too difficult if it comes down to it.
Albanese was responsible for pushing legislation through Parliament in the minority government of Julia Gillard and proved to be very successful. He will use these skills to build consensus with independents to implement his legislative agenda.
Yet what this agenda is all about is a bit of a mystery. After Labor lost the last election by offering bold economic reforms to the electorate, Albanese made sure he was a small target and released a modicum of politics.
He is a very different man from Morrison.
When it came to making decisions by the former prime minister, the first consideration was what that decision meant for Scott Morrison and his premiership, followed by what it meant for the Liberal Party. The impact of a decision on the welfare of the nation came far behind.
Albanese is of course still a politician and you can’t be leader of the Labor Party without a healthy dose of self-interest, but at least what’s good for Australia could be considered a bit more when it comes to is about making decisions.
The new Prime Minister promised economic reforms without providing any details.
We know that he plans to introduce universal and affordable childcare services that provide the opportunity for hundreds of thousands of women to re-enter the labor market, thus alleviating the labor shortage.
It plans to encourage domestic manufacturing and further turn Australian science into business, with a $15 billion national reconstruction fund that would invest in new industries with the aim of creating 1.2 million science-related jobs. technology by 2030.
The new Prime Minister also wants to raise wages through increased productivity, but the plan is vague.
Albanese will have to do this at the same time as it battles rising inflation, cost of living pressures and rising interest rates, and undertakes a huge task of fiscal repair, including debt management which is expected to reach AU$1.2 trillion in the coming years.
Climate change will finally be at the center of the federal government’s political agenda, but we have the new climate independents to thank for that.