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Barnaby Joyce Demands A Plan For Net Zero Emissions, Apparently Forgetting He’s The Deputy PM

Joyce passionately argued for a plan on climate change this morning on radio, somehow missing that he has the power to create that very plan.

Image of Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce surrounded by pears.

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Barnaby Joyce was caught out on ABC’s RN Breakfast this morning saying the National Party, which he leads, won’t commit to a zero-emissions target by 2050 until there’s a concrete plan — seemingly forgetting that as Deputy Prime Minister of the coalition that has the power (and responsibility) to make that plan.

His comments come after the release of the IPCC’s damning report about the irreversible changes we’ll see occur to the world’s climate, and all face in our lifetime, if serious action isn’t taken in the coming decade.

Independent MP Helen Haines spoke passionately in Question Time in parliament yesterday about the people living in regional Australia — people the National Party stands for — bearing the brunt of climate change.

“Drought, bushfires, floods and future trade costs. But the regions are smart and ready to seize new opportunities like community-owned renewable energy. [The Nationals are] standing in the way,” Haines argued.

This morning, Joyce responded to Haines’ comments. “The reason why is because nobody is telling us exactly what’s involved in the plan…you must lay down the plan,” he told host Fran Kelly. “If the plan is we all going to go to electric vehicles in Sydney and Melbourne and around the nation. Fine. How are you going to do it? Where’s the power going to come from that’s actually going to drive it?

“We know the IPCC talks about 15 percent that’s coming from agriculture. OK, what do they deem to be the baseline of soil carbon before we start nominating soil carbon?”

Kelly politely but sternly pushed back: “With respect, Barnaby Joyce, you’re the Deputy Prime Minister of this government. It’s your government. You’re asking to come up with a plan. Where are you at with the plan? Where is it? Are you working on it?”

The Man Without The Plan

Joyce said the government doesn’t come up with the plan, but the CSIRO — which the government has a history of ignoring on other environmental matters — and “other competent people”.

“Oh, come on. The Government has to be driving this,” Kelly shot back. “Of course, you’re right that the minister, David Littleproud, is working with his department to come up with a soil carbon levels. The energy minister… Angus Taylor, is working with his ministry. So where is it at? Have you gone and spoken to them all?”

Joyce deflected by speaking about the Snowy Hydro 2.0 scheme — which experts actually say will increase greenhouse emissions, at least at first. He also talked of community pushback against renewables expansion in regional Australia.

He then tried to blame the Labor Party, saying, “If they if they believe it so fervently, they can legislate it.” Kelly then pointed out that Joyce is part of the government who should be doing the legislating. But according to Joyce, the government doesn’t “believe in legislating it until we have a clear understanding of exactly where the costs are.”

“I have a responsibility to regional people, not just farmers, people working the abattoirs and everywhere else, and the money that goes into the community to say if that’s part of the plan, we need to know about it and we need to know about it so that we can be honest to our constituency and tell them that this is the cost and this is what you’re paying,” Joyce replied.

Yesterday Scott Morrison responded to the IPCC report that “Australia is doing its part,” and that “our commitments are backed up by plans” before referring to regional communities who he says “should not be forced to cary the national burden. And I won’t let them. I will assure that we will have a plan that addresses the need for jobs… I will not be asking people in the regions of this country to carry the burden for the country alone.”

Cool, cool. So when are we gonna get this plan? Anyone got a plan? Would love me a plan.