Malcolm Turnbull blasts Liberal party for being 'incapable' of climate change action

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has lashed the Liberal party’s response to dealing with climate change.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks to media after delivering an address at the NSW Smart Energy Summit.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. Source: AAP

Malcolm Turnbull has lamented the Liberal party’s failure to act on climate change saying it has proven 'incapable' of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In an interview with The Australian, Mr Turnbull revealed his biggest regret as prime minister was the rejection of his national energy policy.

He said climate change scepticism from a group of denialists had influenced his party and led to Australians paying higher power bills and more emissions.

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull conducts his farewell press conference at Parliament House in Canberra.
Source: AAP

“The Liberal Party has just proved itself incapable of dealing with the reduction of greenhouse gases in any sort of systemic way,” he said in the interview.

“The consequence … is without question that we are paying higher prices for electricity and having higher emissions."

Malcolm Turnbull’s own plan for a national energy policy would have provided a framework for mixing traditional generators and renewable energy sources but was scrapped after his ousting as prime minister last August.  

However, the Morrison government insists it is on track to meet its greenhouse reduction commitments under the Paris agreement.

At the UN General Assembly last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison strongly rejected criticism of his government’s action on climate change, despite the nation’s total emissions rising year on year since 2015.

“Australia is doing our bit on climate change and we reject any suggestion to the contrary,” Mr Morrison said.

"We are successfully balancing our global responsibilities with sensible and practical policies to secure our environmental and economic future." 

In his interview, Mr Turnbull called for the science behind climate change to be recognised.

“Conservatives are practical,” he said.

“There is nothing conservative, for example, [in] denying the science of climate change. That’s not a conservative position. That is just, well, that is just denying reality. You might as well deny gravity.”

He said a national energy policy was needed to deal with the increasing transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

“We [need to] have an effective set of rules to govern our energy market and ensure a low cost and stable transition from burning fossil fuels to renewable energy.

“We are paying higher prices for electricity than we should and we are having [more] emissions than we should, so it is a lose-lose. And if you talk to anybody in the industry, the energy sector, they will confirm what I just said to you.”

When Mr Turnbull was ousted as Prime Minister, his national energy policy was seen as one of a series of flash-points clashing with ‘conservative’ elements within his party  

Published 8 October 2019 at 8:00am, updated 8 October 2019 at 10:33am
By Tom Stayner