Thursday, August 11, 2022

Climate Change: Treasury's sabotage

Jon Kudelka - DinosaurAccountant
(Cartoon by Jon Kudelka)

There's a (paywalled) story on BusinessDesk about today's budget document drop - and in particular the climate change documents - about how Treasury resisted Ministerial demands for more spending on climate change, forcing cuts to a level deemed insufficient to meet the requirements of the Emissions Reduction Plan:

Ministers wanted spending that would bridge the gap in reductions needed to meet the first emissions budget. Ministers wanted quick action while Treasury asked them to “focus on the need to create the strong foundations for emissions reductions and removals over the medium and longer term, in addition to the short-term first emissions budget”.

Possible emissions reduction estimates were hard to be precise about, Treasury warned. There was also conflicting advice from the chief executives of the agencies with responsibility for climate change policy.

“The key differences between our draft package and the advice provided by Climate reflect our focus on the rationale for government spending, delivery risk and implementation readiness of initiatives, while Climate CEs’ advice focuses more on a package that is necessary and sufficient to deliver the ERP (emissions reduction plan), meet emissions budgets, and enable an equitable transition.”

Just to repeat that last bit: the climate chief executives recommended what was necessary to meet our emissions reduction targets, and Treasury cut it below that level essentially because they're ideologically committed to austerity. The implication is that the government will not achieve its promised level of reductions thanks to this Treasury sabotage. The comparison to the dinosaur accountant in the above cartoon should be obvious. Effectively, we have a key government agency acting as a quisling for the fossil fuel industry and betting on human extinction (or at the least, widespread immiseration). But hey, they kept taxes on the rich low...