Transcript - Television Interview - Sunrise - Monday, 15 November 2021

Transcript - Television Interview - Sunrise - Monday, 15 November 2021 Main Image

By Joel Fitzgibbon

15 November 2021

NATALIE BARR, HOST: Well, after two weeks of fierce negotiations, almost 200 countries have unanimously agreed on a new climate deal. The Glasgow Climate Pact aims to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels to prevent the effects of catastrophic climate change. But the national pledges made so far still have the world on track to warm by 2.4 degrees. The agreement also requires underperforming countries like Australia to update their 2030 targets next year. For their take, I'm joined by Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader, Barnaby Joyce, and Labor MP, Joel Fitzgibbon. Morning to you both. Barnaby, this summit was described as the last chance to keep 1.5 degrees alive. Was it a bit of a talk fest in the end? Was it a failure?


BARNABY JOYCE, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Well, I think that some of the framing of it with multiple billionaires and movie stars, and there seem to be a lot of theatrics on it, which does in time read a sense of cynicism. I think it's achieved an outcome. Obviously, in Australia, we have to understand that our economy is vastly different to Chairman Alok Sharma's economy and I saw his depressed look as he put down the gavel, but maybe he could have led the way and told us he was going to shut down, you know, the North Sea oil production, one of England's biggest exports, or UK’s biggest exports, maybe the Scottish have a different view on it. We have to be very mindful that our exports of our fossil fuel are the reason you… supports your pension, supports your health systems, supports your police system, it is one of our nation's biggest exports, second biggest export. And other people are willing to make discussions about our exports, but very unwilling, like North Sea oil for England, to talk about theirs. Now, we are doing our part, we've always done our part, we've met every target that's been set for us. And so, Australia has been an honourable citizen in this process. Other countries with less to lose than Australia can be more righteous, but we have to actually balance the books, pay for everything from the ABC to pensions, and we do that by earning export dollars, otherwise, your currency would be worth nothing because there'd be less that people would want to buy from us, and that by reason would mean that the price of your Toyota, the price of your computers, the price of your watches, and your iPhones and everything else in your life which you import would go up because we have less things for the terms of trade to export.


BARR: Yeah, Joel, we have the head of COP 26 in tears, apologising, mainly because of this last big deal that India and China pushed for, phasing down coal, not phasing it out. How much of a failure was this?


JOEL FITZGIBBON, MEMBER FOR HUNTER: Nat, we should never let the perfect get in the way of the possible. And compromise and flexibility is important when you're trying to get almost 200 countries to agree on something, particularly when the debate is being led by wealthy developed nations, asking poorer developing nations to give up the very things we built our wealth upon for many decades. I think we should spend more time celebrating the progress in Glasgow than lamenting what could have been, or the failure to reach the perfect. I think it's a good outcome. It's a good outcome for those developing countries, the developing countries who will desperately need our relatively efficient fossil fuels over many decades, to bring them out of poverty and to build their own cleaner economies.


BARR: Barnaby, we have to go back in a year, and we have to update our targets for 2030. Are the Nationals going to agree to that?


JOYCE: Well, we will tell the Australian people quite clearly that if you stop using Australian coal, you're just going to use more Indian coal or other coal from other parts of the world from Indonesia, from Mongolia. And you're going to get more emissions, not less. We'll also say to people if you want to be honest about this, and lose one of your biggest export items, then you have to acknowledge that your standard of living will have to go down and your money that we've got for your NDIS, for your pensions, for your Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, for your schools, for your hospitals, for your roads, of course, that's affected as well as the fact that your currency, because less people will demand it, will be worth less. Which, of course, means that you need more Australian dollars to pay for your imports – your phones, your motor vehicles, your fuel. And this, of course will go through every section of your life. It's not just, oh we'll shut down the coal industry and everything will be fine and go along as before. It's your nation's second biggest export. And so, we have to be balanced in this because Australia's position is vastly different from the United Kingdom with pharmaceuticals and the London Stock Exchange and Oil, North Sea oil, which they don't want to shut down. They want to keep that one going. But they want to shut down other people's industries. And, you know, this is, we're doing our part. We've always done our part, but we have to be tempered and understand quite clearly, you know, where our money that we export comes from. And if you start shutting that down, you of course are going to start shutting down your standard of living in Australia. You will definitely have an effect on it from inflation on everything you import. Look around your room. look at how many things are made in Australia. It all comes in on a boat. So, we have to be putting something on a boat and sending it in the other direction to pay for that.


BARR: Yep, Okay. Look, thanks very much for your time this morning. We'll see you next week. Ran out of time.