‘Laughable’: Billionaire fires smackdown
The Australian founder and CEO of multi-billion dollar software company Atlassian has hit out at a fellow panellist while appearing on Monday night's Q&A.
Mike Cannon-Brookes fired a shot at Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Defence Personnel, Darren Chester, when the panel were asked about Australian CO2 emissions and whether the federal government had a solid plan in reducing emissions to 2050.
Mr Chester defended his government's "target" plan, pushing the focus onto a global response rather than a local one, insisting that setting a long-term goal for 2050 would be "unfair".
"We've set targets for 2030, and we're on track to meet those," Mr Chester argued.
"It would be unfair to set a target for 2050 without saying how we would do it or pay for it. We're on target for a Paris Agreement based on the 2005 figures. It's our approach and one that the Australian people have endorsed at the last three elections. We're fair dinkum about it. "We're trying to deliver affordable, reliable energy, and doing our part on emissions reduction, but recognising it's a global response."
Under international climate agreements, Australia has two targets to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The first is to hit five per cent below 2000 levels by 2020 (under the Kyoto Protocol) and the second is to be 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 (under the Paris Agreement).
But Mr Cannon-Brookes was having none of it, saying the soft stance on setting a long-term CO2 reduction target was "laughable", and that politicians are "not into long-term planning" because they "don't know how to do it".
"That's the job," he said to the panel. "Planning what the nation is going to do over the next 10, 20 and 30 years. We have all sorts of other plans … we build roads and we expect them to last for 30 years … well, we can set emissions targets and get to them."
Mr Cannon-Brookes said the government can set 2050 targets, because what the business community needs is certainty.
"Not having that target and not having legislated steps towards that target means we don't have the certainty to get the investment.
"That will do more to drive up your price of power than anything else they [federal government] are doing."
When questioned by host Hamish Macdonald about what would his solution be to achieving zero CO2 emissions, Mr Cannon-Brookes said the answer is "simple".
"You have to electrify everything and move your entire electricity generation to renewables," he said.
"This is happening all over the world."
Mr Chester shot back at the software entrepreneur, saying he was "laughing" at Mr Cannon-Brooke's stance on C02 emissions.
"70 per cent of Victoria's energy supplies right now come out of the Latrobe Valley," he shot back.
"Mike can say it's bunkum, but that's what keeps surgeries operating, what keeps the manufacturing sector going in Victoria right now.
"People in my electorate, in my community, are all for renewages, absolutely. They recognise they have an important role to play and it's probably going to be a bigger role into the future. "But don't mislead them and tell them you're going to switch over to completely renewable energy sources in the time frames you're talking about right now.
"My comment earlier, which you tried to misrepresent Mike, was quite simply we don't go to the Australian people and tell them we are going to do something until we can prove how we will do it and how we are going to pay for it.
"Right now, our plan for 2030 is in place, and we outlined $18 billion worth of investment to work with the private sector which we expect will generate more than $50 billion of investment with new technologies as well. They're all plans that I think will deliver emissions reductions in a way the Australian people will appreciate and understand the response we've taken."
Originally published as 'Laughable': Billionaire fires smackdown