Liberal MPs agitate for climate change action as Julie Bishop lifts temperature

Liberal MPs agitate for climate change action as Julie Bishop lifts temperature

“I don’t see a solution to the current impasse but investors need regulatory certainty given the large and long-term investment needed for building energy generating capacity.”

While there is sympathy for Ms Bishop’s view among moderate Liberals, few, if any, believe it is realistic to revisit the NEG, which was used as the trigger to dump Mr Turnbull and has since been killed off by Scott Morrison.

Direct action policy

After the Wentworth byelection rout in October last year, the moderates requested Mr Morrison insteadrevitalise the ailing direct-action policy with a $1 billion injectioninto the Emissions Reduction Fund over three years.

The $2.55 million fund was part of the direct-action policy established under Tony Abbott’s leadership and was used to purchase emission reductions.

It has about $250 million leftand is set to phase out in 2020.

“Topping up the ERF will be the most logical thing to do,” said one leading moderate MP

“I don’t think it’s too late to do something on this.

“There are people we can’t convince. It’s that middle ground that wants a balanced approach.

“It’s not going to appease the hard-core activists but will appease a large number of Australians.”

Earlier this week, another moderate, Tim Wilson, told ABC radio he was anticipating an announcement from the government.

His colleagues concurred. “I’m told that more work is being done on a climate change policy,” said one.

When the midyear budget update was released in December, $1.4 billion was squirrelled away under the heading “Decisions Taken but not Yet Announced”. The moderates are hoping a large chunk of this has been earmarked for the ERF.

At the same time on Friday, Energy Minister Angus Taylor indicated the government was prepared to underwrite the construction of new coal-fired power stations.

This week, three ​economically conservative and socially progressive candidates announced challenges to sitting Liberals in supposedly safe seats.

In the seat of Warringah, Zali Steggall announced a challenge against Mr Abbott.

In Josh Frydenberg’s seat of Kooyong, former Liberal Party member, Macquarie executive and the inaugural chief executive of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Oliver Yates, announced he was running to unseat the Treasurer and deputy Liberal leader.

Then, on Thursday, disaffected former Liberal MP Julia Banks, said she would be shifting from her marginal Melbourne seat of Chisholm to the Mornington Peninsula seat of Flinders in a bid to knock off Health Minister Greg Hunt.

All three, as well as Kerryn Phelps who is recontesting Wentworth, cite the government’s lack of climate change action as their primary driver.

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