Butler all bluster on climate modeling

Media release

20 March 2019

This morning on ABC radio, Labor’s Mark Butler repeatedly described independent and peer-reviewed modelling of Labor’s reckless targets as “dodgy”, “complete rubbish” and “fantasy”.

When asked whether Labor had modelled the impact of its climate policy, Butler could only point to the work of others, including a 2015 report by Australian National University academic Dr Warwick McKibbin.

Dr McKibbin’s 2015 report only covers around 70% of Australia’s total emissions, excluding emissions from sources other than the electricity sector and the direct combustion of fossil fuels.

Dr McKibbin has previously endorsed Dr Fisher as “highly credible” and tweeted today that his 2015 report “did not examine the Labor policy”.

Not one of the reports mentioned by Butler in the interview use detailed whole-of-economy modelling to examine the impact of an economy-wide 45% emissions reduction target together with a 50% renewable energy target.

The Fisher Report considers the impact of Labor’s reckless targets, based on the Department of Environment and Energy’s latest emissions projections, and uses an independent, Australian Renewable Energy Agency-commissioned report to inform the integration costs of high levels of wind and solar.

The report has been peer reviewed by Professor John Weyant, Director of the Energy Modeling Forum and Deputy Director of the Precourt Institute for Energy Efficiency at Stanford University.

The report shows that energy-intensive and emissions-intensive activities including agriculture, gas production, heavy industry, mining and transport are hit hard by Labor’s targets. The flow-on impacts increase unemployment by up to 580,000 jobs and slash wages by up to $24,000 under a scenario where Labor doesn’t use carryover.

Labor first adopted these reckless targets before the 2016 election, and Bill Shorten and Mark Butler have had over three years to develop a plan to reach them.

But when asked the most basic question: whether or not Labor will use Australia’s Kyoto overachievement to reduce the economic transformation required to meet their targets, Mark Butler can only say that Labor is “still consulting”.

The fact Labor has no answer to this fundamental policy question reveals their dirty secret: Labor has no plan to meet their damaging emissions targets.

Rather than desperately trying to smear an expert in this field, Labor needs to address the findings of the report, detail their plan to reduce Australia’s emissions by 45%, and come clean on how much this is going to cost the Australian people.

Minister for Energy