Flat White

Coming soon: sub-zero carbon commitments?

21 February 2020

3:02 PM

21 February 2020

3:02 PM

At the risk of becoming a conservative Cassandra, the announcement by Labor Leader, Anthony Albanese, of a zero carbon emissions target by 2050 is not the ultimate endpoint. Zero emissions is, of course, lower than the emissions ambitions of his predecessor, Bill Shorten, but this game does not end here.

Labor and Greens leaders looking to keep up with the Joneses needn’t worry. If Albo’s promise of an imminent carbon-neutral future, completely unbudgeted of course, doesn’t turn out to be a huge turn-on for the voters there is always a step further to be taken.

Sub-zero emissions targets. Just as the Six Minute Abs Workout trumped the Seven Minute Abs Workout, sub-zero emissions targets are the way of the future.


Shorten was unable to get his party over that unfortunate issue of ‘cost’ when it came to carbon dioxide emissions. Like a used car dealer who won’t shut up about the various, and usually outdated, features of the bomb they are trying to sell you, Shorten appeared to pin his hopes on the issue of cost never coming up.

If Albanese is to make the same mistake, and quite frankly the future of the Morrison government may well hang on that if, it would not be the first time Labor has followed fiscal irresponsibility with fiscal irresponsibility. In much the same way as choosing poor candidates is One Nation’s party trick, ignoring the bill is Labor’s. In polite circles, it’s referred to as ‘Whitlaming’.

Australian voters, having once ignored the Bill themselves, are now asking the very same questions of Albanese that they were asking Shorten only 12 months ago. Pattern recognition is something of a primal instinct which Albanese will have to be very light on his feet to avoid.

The economy has yet to recover sufficiently for moral arguments to win the day over economic ones. Albo may well be banking on a brighter future.

Until that better tomorrow does dawn upon this great, brown land, Australians will have to settle for mere zero-emission targets. But hear my prophecy: sub-zero targets are but a promise away.

Garth Hamilton is an engineer specialising in removing barriers to technology uptake.

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