By Monique La Terra
‘No one mourns the wicked’ sums up much of the populations view on Tony Abbott’s eviction but what does this change in leadership mean for the environment? At first the country breathed a synchronised sigh of relief as it relished in the knowledge that Malcom Turnbull has defended climate change experts such as the CSIRO and strongly supported the introduction of an Emissions Trading Scheme which led to the leadership spill of 2009. At the time he said he would ‘not lead a party that is not as committed to effective action on climate change as I am.’
But only weeks into his reign, our new PM has abandoned his old beliefs. During question time, Turnbull was asked about his position regarding Labor’s hope that Australia generate 50% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and his response was to call the idea one of Labor’s ‘most reckless proposals.’ This is in sharp contrast to 2010 when Turnbull gave an inspired speech at the Zero Carbon Australia Sydney Launch Event saying; ‘we are as humans conducting a massive science experiment with this planet. It’s the only planet we’ve got…. We know that the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic. We know that extreme weather events are occurring with greater and greater frequency and while it is never possible to point to one drought or one storm or one flood and say that particular incident is caused by global warming, we know that these trends are entirely consistent with the climate change forecasts with the climate models that the scientists are relying on…. We as a human species have a deep and abiding obligation to this planet and to the generations that will come after us.’
For a brief moment Australians believed that we no longer had to hang our heads in shame leading up to United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, but now instead of sending a PM suffering from climate change denial we will be sending a PM who is more than willing to neglect his former opinions simply to gain a seat at the popular kids table.
Once opposed to Tony Abbott’s Direct Action Policy, Turnbull now praises the scheme which at its core hands out what can only be described as cash prizes to money-hungry polluting corporations if they reduce, even slightly, their pollution. What’s worse is that large polluters can ignore the policy without consequence.
The question is why has Malcolm Turnbull abandoned his morals? Unlike, naïve Mr Abbott, Turnbull thoroughly understands climate change but instead of implementing smart plans he seems to have lost his audacity and is instead cowering behind useless, archaic policies. The once Tesla enthusiast, ecofriendly Toyota Prius driver is allowing political wing-men and women to steer him in a direction that is less green and a lot more coal black.
Even Tony Abbott has admitted on 2GB radio that nothing has changed saying; ‘climate change, the same. Border protection policy, the same. National security, policy, the same.’
Turnbull is quickly losing the countries faith and in order to regain the trust of this nation he needs to do what Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey wouldn’t and it will take more than new slogans. If he wants to leave a positive legacy than he needs to embrace new technology and renewable energy with the same passion he once had and this means investing in solar and wind energy instead of feeding millions of tax payer dollars into the Direct Action Policy.