Outside of religion, few topics generate the kind of impassioned debate as climate change.
In Australia, that debate has become focused on the nation’s financial and other commitments as a signatory of the Paris Agreement.
Many are urging a rethink of that commitment, arguing it’s little more than a money grab by developing nations. And that those nations — urged on by globalist elites — will only demand more and more over time.
But senior government ministers believe that exiting the agreement would damage Australia’s relations with its Pacific neighbours.
In the most recent stoush, Energy Minister Angus Taylor slapped down conservative colleagues and media commentators demanding the government withdraw from its Paris climate commitments.
Mr Taylor said it was wrong to argue leaving the agreement would lead to a ‘miraculous drop’ in power prices, adding Australia would reach its Paris carbon emission reduction targets well ahead of time.
Paris would not require new interventions in the energy market, nor create new pricing pressures.
‘We will reach our emissions targets in the national electricity market well ahead of 2030,’ Mr Taylor told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also bristled at claims the Paris accord is a vehicle to shovel money to ‘rent seekers’ in the Pacific.
Sydney radio host Alan Jones is a vocal and consistent critic of the global climate change covenant.
During an interview with the prime minister on Wednesday, he described the Paris agreement as a metaphor for clinging to past failures.
Mr Morrison flatly disagreed and rebuffed his repeated demands to walk away from the non-binding deal.
‘Paris is also important to all of our Pacific neighbours, Alan, as I’ve discussed before,’ he told 2GB radio.
‘This is a very important issue within our own region.’
Jones, who is a powerful backroom figure inside the Liberal Party, was incredulous.
He grilled the prime minister about whether he believed Pacific islands were going to wash away because of global warming, or that Bondi Beach would end up at Bathurst.
‘Do you think all these rent seekers in the Pacific should get money, do you? You’ve said you’re not going to contribute to Paris. We’ve already chipped in $200 million, they’re rent seekers, they just want money,’ Jones said.
Mr Morrison took umbrage at the slurs.
‘I don’t think that’s very respectful to the Pacific islands, Alan, I really don’t, and I don’t share that view,’ he said.
The prime minister referred back to Papua New Guinea’s help towards Australian soldiers during the Second World War to emphasise the country’s ‘very special’ strategic relationship with the Pacific.
‘For our own interests, as well as part of the community and family of nations we live in this part of the world — we do the right thing by them, they’ll do the right thing by us.’
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The Australian Tribune with AAP