The one thing Malcolm Turnbull has got right in the last year? Out with Greg Hunt, and in with Josh Frydenberg.
The new ministry has been announced, as predicted, without magnanimity, wisdom or grace. There is no role for Tony Abbott; Turnbull is still too afraid of him. But Greg Hunt has finally been moved out of the Environment portfolio which can only be a good thing. He has been a key proponent of passionate and pointless action on the weather, and was central to stopping a BOM audit and bringing in a carbon tax. Almost any other minister might actually try to get better science (see here and here), and solve real environmental problems instead of fake ones. Perhaps finally an environment minister may recognise that we need temperature data that can be independently replicated if we are ever going to understand the Australian climate?
The Dept of Environment has been merged with Energy which makes sense for carbon traders and the renewables industry, but perhaps not for the environment.
The new environment minister looks good
The Sydney Morning Herald has put together the praise for Josh Frydenberg:
Former Greens leader Bob Brown said Mr Frydenberg would bury Australia’s environmental hopes and aspirations.
“The pro-nuclear, pro-coal Frydenberg has been whingeing about environmental campaigns against him in his seat of Kooyong,” Mr Brown said.
He has previously supported an end to Victoria’s moratorium on onshore gas exploration and praised Margaret Thatcher’s record on environment and climate change.
Greenpeace campaigner Nikola Casule said Mr Frydenberg’s views on climate change were “an embarrassing relic from a different era”.
RenewEconomy likewise tells me that Frydenberg can’t be too bad:
The Victoria MP has long been a supporter of nuclear energy, and has shown he is also a strong supporter of the coal industry, recently insisting it had a strong future, describing it as a “living, breathing, success story.”
He has been highly critical of Labor’s more ambitious renewable energy targets.
Frydenberg also has strong views on nuclear energy. He made it one of his three major issues when he made his maiden speech to parliament in October, 2010
On coal, and the Adani coal project in Queensland, Frydenberg said: “There is a strong moral case here,” he told ABC’s Insiders program. “Over a billion people don’t have access to electricity. That means that more 2 billion people today are using wood and dung for their cooking.”
Is this a big about face for Turnbull? I doubt it. But I’m hopeful that Frydenberg won’t cut those carbon trading caps so far that Australia gets electricity prices like Germans do. The Safeguard CapN Trade scheme is still a carbon tax, but if the Caps stay high it will not bite much.