by Alan Thornhill
The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, says he would reject any suggestion that Australia is the “dirtiest place on earth.”
He was speaking in a doorstop interview in London, after being criticised, earlier, for not admitting that Australia has the highest greenhouse gas emissions of any OECD country.
Responding to persistent questioning on the subject, Mr Hockey said” ” If anyone suggests that Australia is the dirtiest nation on earth I will reject it, and reject it with all the force I can muster.
“…. that is just an absolutely wrong assertion.
“…we are not the dirtiest nation on earth.
“We are a great nation and I will defend our interests from one end of the earth to the other in that regard.
“For anyone to suggest that Australia is – in their words – the dirtiest nation on earth is an affront to our nation – and wherever it is – any part of the world – I will stand up for Australia and defend its interests,” Mr Hockey said.
In an earlier interview with the BBC, Mr Hockey had scoffed at the suggestion that Australia is “one of the dirtiest, most greenhouse gas-emitting countries in OECD group of developed countries”.
He had described that comment as “absolutely ridiculous.”
“We’ve got a small population and very large land mass and we are an exporter of energy,” Mr Hockey said then.
“So that measurement is a falsehood in a sense because it does not properly reflect exactly what our economy is.”
However the Garnaut Climate Change Review has said Australia has the highest greenhouse gas emissions of any OECD country and that they are among the highest in the world.
It said:”Australia’s per capita emissions are nearly twice the OECD average and more than four times the world average.”
by Alan Thornhill
Australia’s “brain drain” will continue if the Federal government does not fund science adequately, the Greens warned today.
Their Deputy Leader and Science spokesperson, Adam Bandt MP, said Federal spending on science is now as low as it ever has been, since records were first kept, back in 1970.
“… it’s a truly shocking picture,” Mr Bandt said.
He said the grim situation is reflected in recently released Treasury Science, Research & Innovation Budget Tables.
These had revealed, for the first time. just how low the country’s investment into research and development is now.
“Abbott government spending on science, research & innovation this year is now only 0.56 per cent of GDP, an equal record low since Treasury started publishing data in the late 1970s,” Mr Bandt said.
“Over the last few decades science and research have become increasingly important to our society and economy, but we’re set to spend less this year than we did in 1979.
“Cuts to CSIRO, clean energy programs and tax concessions for R&D have contributed to this woeful result,” Mr Bandt said.
“We’ll never be able to compete with China or India on wages.
“But we can be stronger on research and innovation.
“That needs secure and significant public investment, something other countries have twigged to.
“We’re trailing behind countries like Germany, the UK and US and we’re outspent by key trading partners like Korea and Japan, Mr Bandt said.
by Alan Thornhill
The Federal government’s Renewable Energy Target should be abandoned, or scaled back, according to a new report.
The report is the work of a panel that the Federal government appointed in February, under the leadership of a senior business figure, Dick Warburton, who is widely regarded as a climate change sceptic.
The target, established under the Howard government and expanded under Labor, would ensure that at least 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity comes from renewable energy sources by 2020.
Many observers were surprised when the Federal government retained it, after its election last September.
But critics say it has simply delayed its death sentence for the target.
Mr Warburton, himself, has disputed his classification as a climate change sceptic, saying instead: “I am not a denier of climate change.
“But I am sceptical about some of the aspects of global warming, and more particularly what might be causing it.
“And I don’t resile from any of those comments.”
Even so, his report will be welcomed by the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who makes no secret of his reservations about climate change.
Weathercoast by Alan Thornhill
A novel on the murder of seven young Anglican Christian Brothers in the Solomon Islands.
Available now on the iTunes store.
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
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