Whenever there is a well-informed leak from Scott Morrison or his office there is always a purpose – normally tactical.
In this case, on the plane back from the US, someone told reporters that Morrison was re-considering going to Glasgow for COP26 in October.
Now there are a variety of possible explanations for the leak.
First, he is planning a November election and doesn’t want to be in quarantine for the start of it. While he believes in miracles, even with 80% vaccination rates, he would be carrying a lot of extra weight into a campaign. So that might be unlikely although if his god has spoken to him he might risk it.
Second, he wants to conjure a tale of victory over opposition by getting the Nats on side to a target and a plan. The Nats will fall into line anyway after their favourite fossil fuel companies get massive hand outs and farmers get similar largesse. The JobKeeper waste will look like chickenfeed. But you can imagine the headlines in the Murdoch media about another ScoMo triumph.
Third, he is worried about his reception in Glasgow irrespective of what he brings. The currently most prominent European post Merkel, Macron, is hardly going to be welcoming and snubs will be the order of the day. Other Europeans will be the same. Glasgow may not be the tough town it once was but still a lot tougher than Sydney when it comes to this event.
Fourth, he actually doesn’t have a plan to unveil despite promises that one is being prepared. He has after all announced far more plans in far more areas than we have actually seen let alone implemented.
He’s got other worries too. He managed to con Nancy Pelosi into repeating his brief but dishonest slogan about Australia’s climate performance. But many other Democrats, including in this context the all-important John Kerry, haven’t been conned.
Morrison can’t even – despite his rapidly forgotten bromance with Trump and his supporters – rely on US public opinion.
Unlike the LNP ranks the US public is now swinging heavily towards belief in climate change and the need for action
The George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communications (4C) most recent survey of US opinion, Climate Change in the American Mind, found that American views about climate change have shifted significantly in the past six months.
“The results are timely, as members of Congress are currently deciding whether to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a larger reconciliation bill, both of which will make major national investments in climate action. Meanwhile, in 2021 the United States has experienced a brutal year of extreme weather events, including record-setting heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, and floods,” 4C says.
“Americans’ belief that global warming is happening has increased six percentage points since March. Americans who think that global warming is happening now outnumber those who think it is not happening by more than 6 to 1” with 76% of those surveyed believing it is happening and only 12% disbelieving.
“Americans’ perception that global warming is a threat has also increased dramatically. An all-time record 70 percent of Americans are now very or somewhat worried about global warming. Those ‘very worried’ increased 10 percentage points since March.
“And for the first time, a majority of Americans now say that people in the United States are being harmed ‘right now’ by global warming”, the report found.
The Center released the findings in the context of the current Congressional negotiations about the huge infrastructure bill which includes a variety of climate measures. The full report with be released shortly.