Paris Climate Agreement
The announcement from US President Donald Trump that the US will withdraw from the Paris Accord now requires a reconsideration of our own approach to the Accord.
Australia’s competitive advantage for generations has been relatively cheap energy costs and security of supply when compared to the rest of the world – this is despite two of our largest inhibitors (labour costs and transport costs) being some of the highest in the world. It’s from that starting point that I am somewhat concerned that climate policy could increase the cost of electricity and transport in Australia which would not only impact on our global competitiveness but also increase cost of living pressures on all Australians, especially pensioners. As shown in the Government’s Climate Change Review Discussion Paper, electricity and transport account for two of the three largest contributors to emissions.
While I am very pleased that the Environment Minister has assured that the Government’s ongoing review will centre on “jobs, investment, trade competitiveness, households and regional Australia”, it must also now carefully examine the impact of any withdrawal of the US from the Paris Accord.
I have long said that should countries like the United States, China or India withdraw their support or fail to live up to the non-binding targets, Australia should similarly pull back to allow for an increased focus on supporting families and jobs in Australia. While I will be interested in reading the final review when it’s complete, because we must make our own policy decisions for our own reasons, the reasoning behind President Trump’s decision may similarly apply in the Australian context.
In considering that review, my guiding principle is simple: that we must not sacrifice Australian jobs and push up household living expenses to embark on some politically correct feel good exercise on the world stage which will do nothing for the environment.