Here’s What We Know About Australia’s Vague Net Zero Plan
The LNP truly gave us nothing.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison today announced the Federal Government’s plan to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2050, but the plan is noticeably vague.
In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Morrison announced the “uniquely Australian” plan alongside Energy Minister Angus Taylor.
“Australia has already met and beaten our … 2020 targets and indeed Australia will beat and meet our 2030 targets as well,” Morrison said on Tuesday.
“Australians want action on climate change. They’re taking action on climate change but they also want to protect their jobs and their livelihoods. They also want to keep the costs of living down,” he said. “And I also want to protect the Australian way of life, especially in rural and regional areas. The Australian way of life is unique.”
It is worth noting, however, that Morrison’s announcement delivered a plan for net-zero, but did not offer much in the way of specifics as to how Australia will meet these goals. While we have a plan, Australians are yet to see any of the modelling on which the plan was based.
However, Morrison did clarify that today’s plan is based on existing policies, which gives you an idea of how minimal the announcements actually are.
Under the policy, the government has pledged to cut 26-28 percent of 2005 carbon emissions levels by the year 2030, despite claiming to be on track to beat this.
“We believe we will be able to achieve a 35 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030: that is something we actually think we are going to achieve,” he said.
Morrison also stressed that the target won’t negatively impact the mining and agriculture industries, with 62,000 new mining jobs promised as part of the plan. However, information as to how this will happen, or what these jobs will entail are yet to be released.
“It will not impact households businesses or the broader economy with new costs or taxes imposed by the initiatives that we are undertaking,” he said.
“It will not cost jobs, not in farming, mining or gas. Because what we’re doing in these plans is positive things, enabling things.”
Morrison also added that the plan will see more than $20 billion invested in “low-emissions technologies” by 2030 including soil carbon sequestration, carbon capture and storage, and low-emissions steel, among other things.
However, it’s worth noting that a significant portion of the plan is based on future technological advancements that the government has been particularly vague on.
Additionally, a major part of the deal to gain the Nationals support means the net-zero plan will be reviewed by the Productivity Commission every five years to ensure a minimal impact on regional and rural communities.
“That will monitor the impact, the socio-economic impact, of our plans into the future,” said Morrison.
“So, I can say to rural and regional Australians this is a good plan for you. It’s a good plan for all Australians.”
Following Morrison’s announcement, Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie — who has attended three COP summits — has been quick to slam the plan.
“The Federal government has now cemented the commitments from all state governments, putting Australia on a path to phase out coal, oil and gas pollution,” said McKenzie.
“Net zero by 2050 is a joke without strong emissions cuts this decade. Australia desperately needs to dramatically scale up renewable energy, phase out coal and gas and electrify our transport systems. Otherwise we miss out on the economic opportunities of the global transition and expose ourselves to the fire, flood and heat risks of climate change.”
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has also launched a scathing attack on the plan, asserting that the Morrison government has left it to the “last minute” to “outline a scam that leaves everything to the last minute”.
“All we got today is slides, slogans and no new solutions,” said Shadow Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen.
The Labor Party is yet to officially outline its plan for reaching net-zero, but this is hardly surprising considering the party has continually reiterated that it would wait until after COP26 to officially outline this.
The news comes ahead of Morrison’s trip to the G20 summit and COP 26 event next week.