Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged to help neighbours and trading partners in the Pacific and Southeast Asia by increasing its climate finance commitment by $500 million to $2 billion.

On the opening day of COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Morrison said the funding will be directed towards specific projects in the region rather than distributed through the green climate fund.

Morrison’s speech to world leaders drew a comparison of the issues surrounding climate change to the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that there is cause for optimism.

“18 months the world was staring to the abyss of a one in a hundred-year pandemic, the vaccines we would need – not only had they not been invented, had never been a vaccine for the coronavirus.

“But here we are, billions vaccinated, and the world is reclaiming what COVID has taken from us.”

He went on to say that the challenge of combatting climate change will be met in the same way – “by those, largely not in this room. It will be our scientists, our technologists, our engineers, our entrepreneurs that will actually chart the path to net zero.”


Bringing home the importance of technology

The Prime Minister used his speech to reiterate the significant role technology would play in meeting the goals of a decarbonised economy.

“Driving down the cost of technology and enabling it to be adopted at scale is at the core of the Australian way to reach our target of net zero emissions by 2050 that we are committing to,” he said.

“Cleaner technology solutions must out-compete existing technologies if they are to be successful everywhere, and especially so in developing economies.”

He said driving the emergence of low emissions technology and fostering their widespread adoption “is at the heart” of Australia’s plan.

Our “plan”, however, has come under wide, global scrutiny for having some of the some of the weakest 2030 targets in the developed world.

It also has received criticism for having no new policies, no modelling, and for relying on technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) to get to net-zero by 2050, which has immense technical difficulties.

This sentiment was reflected by the prime minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, who said Australia’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 was just a “start”.

He said he wanted a “concrete plan for Australia to halve emissions by 2030.”


Technology not taxes, or taxes for technology?

Director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis Tim Buckley said Morrison’s ‘technology not taxes’ plan is completely untenable and should really be called the ‘taxes for technology’ plan.

“This technology not taxes line is just wrong, it has absolutely no meaning but worse, it’s our taxes.

“You pay tax, and it will go to Santos – when its $50 million here and $50 million there, nobody really notices but over a decade we are talking billions of dollars in subsidies per CCS project.

“Angus Taylor is trying to make taxpayers pay, and in some respects I’m glad he’s doing it because it will backfire.”