Australia’s stance on net-zero by 2050 is – wait for it – still up in the air
Australia’s National Party remains unwilling to budge on further reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow at the end of next week.
The Australian Government has plans in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 26–28% below 2005 levels by 2030, but national and international pressure has been mounting for a further increase of the 2030 target – and more importantly, for a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.
While states including New South Wales have set targets to reduce emissions by 50% in the next decade, the federal government has yet to set out a plan on the matter, or its position on a target.
As reported by the ABC, the Nationals’ party room was presented with the government’s climate change plan but failed to come to a conclusion after hours of wrangling over it.
This follows Premier Scott Morrison having confirmed his attendance at the upcoming summit last Friday, stating that the government will be finalising its position for him to take to the conference over the next fortnight.
Without a clear plan and without Australia signing up to a 2050 target, Morrison’s attendance at the summit will not be able to go ahead.
Nationals’ leader Barnaby Joyce said his party would not be “forced into a corner” on the government’s proposed pathway to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
While the coalition’s Liberal Party has shifted its stance on greenhouse gas emissions, Joyce said his party “would not be forced to decide by the deadline.”
In an interview with the ABC Joyce said: “Our economy is not like Europe’s.
“It’s not like France or England or might I say the United States, it is entirely different in that it is so heavily weighted on the export of iron ore, coal, gas, gold, agricultural products, and so in this parliament we have to be diligent.
“Now the Labor Party say they will just accept it no questions asked. I don’t know where their regional forum is but I don’t think it exists.
“We want really stringent oversight over this, and to be frank, you’re not going to do that in four hours on a Sunday night.”
When asked if the National Party is more likely than not to accept a 2050 target based on discussions on Sunday, Joyce said as of Sunday night “people have further to go and that is self-evident in the fact that we are continuing on our discussions, so people can read from that that there is a concern.”