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Tue May 19, 2020, 08:20 AM

After A Roasty-Toasty Summer, Oz Energy Minister Refuses To Commit To Net Zero Policy By 2050

Angus Taylor says it is not Australia’s policy to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, despite signing up to the Paris agreement, because the Morrison government will not adopt a mid-century target in advance of a plan to achieve it. The energy minister said on Tuesday that signatories to the Paris agreement, including Australia, had agreed to hit net zero “in the second half of the century”. But scientists say in order to meet the central Paris goal of keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5C – a commitment Australia adopted in 2015 – signatories need to hit net zero by 2050.

A new review of the government’s climate policies headed by former Business Council of Australia president Grant King notes that “like other signatories to the Paris agreement, Australia has agreed to adopt progressively more ambitious targets beyond 2030 and has endorsed the agreement’s overarching long-term goals, namely to limit the global temperature rise to well below 2C – and if possible below 1.5C – by achieving net zero emissions as soon as possible in the second half of the century”.

Major business groups, including the Business Council of Australia and the Ai Group, say Australia should adopt the net zero by 2050 target. Earlier this month the Ai Group called for the two biggest economic challenges in memory – recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and cutting greenhouse gas emissions – to be addressed together, saying it would boost growth and put the country on a firm long-term footing. Every Australian state has signed up to net zero emissions by 2050, and these commitments are expressed either as targets or aspirational goals. But asked on Tuesday whether net zero by 2050 was the federal government’s policy, Taylor said: “No.”

“Our approach is not to have a target without a plan,” Taylor told the ABC. He said technology improvements would drive significant reductions in emissions “and we’d love to be able to achieve net zero by 2050, but ultimately that will depend on the pathways of technology to deliver that without damaging the economy”. The King review has recommended new approaches to reducing pollution including paying big emitters to keep their emissions below an agreed limit, and allowing businesses to bid for funding from the government’s climate policy – the $2.55bn emissions reduction fund – for projects that capture emissions and either use them or store them underground.

Ed. - Emphasis added . . .



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