Saturday, October 1, 2022

Australia has set a goal of zero net emissions by 2050.

On Tuesday, coal-rich Australia unveiled a long-delayed 2050 net zero emissions target in a plan that clearly avoided complex details or short-term targets ahead of a landmark UN climate summit.

Australia, considered by many to be lagging behind in terms of climate, is one of the world’s largest exporters of coal and gas.

For the past eight years, his Conservative government has resisted emission-cutting action, regularly endorsing new coal projects and promoting skepticism about climate change.

Under domestic and international pressure, Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday announced a change in approach and acknowledged that “the world is changing,” Australians want policies that “are doing the right thing about climate change,” he said, adding that the phenomenon is “ really, it happens. We understand and acknowledge this. ”

It remains unclear how Australia will zero carbon emissions by 2050, as the government refuses to publish its simulations.

The plan calls for an investment of $ 15 billion in low-emission technology over the next decade, but it also relies heavily on untested technology and carbon offsetting, which critics ridiculed as an accounting gimmick.

And Morrison has been keen to emphasize that he will not give up long-term support for the country’s lucrative fossil fuel industry.

“This will not stop our production or export of coal or gas,” Morrison said at a press conference. “It will not cost jobs, neither in agriculture, nor in mining, nor in gas.”

Departing from requirements for more ambitious 2030 targets, Morrison said he expects Australia to “meet and exceed” the previously agreed target of 26-28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels.

He said that Australia was projected to cut emissions by 30 to 35 percent by 2030.

“We really think this is what we are going to achieve. Australia’s actions speak louder than words about us, ”he added.

‘Sold a puppy’

The announcement came just days before Morrison travels to the COP26 UN climate summit next month in Glasgow.

Australia’s reluctance to act has been criticized by close allies such as the United States and Britain, as well as its Pacific island neighbors, which are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

The coalition government is also finding it is increasingly at odds with Australians, who have been hit by a series of droughts, wildfires and floods that have worsened climatic conditions.

A 2021 poll by think tank Lowy Institute found that 78 percent of Australians support a net zero target by 2050, while 63 percent support a national ban on new coal mines.

The country’s greatest natural tourist attraction, the Great Barrier Reef, has been hit hard by waves of massive coral bleaching as ocean temperatures rise.

Mark Kenney, a professor at the Australian Research Institute in Canberra, said domestic and international pressures have made it “increasingly unviable for the coalition to cling to its essentially negative stance.”

But Kenny warned that Australia’s announcement meant nothing more than a rhetoric shift for the resource-dependent country.

“In reality, this commitment is immaterial. I think if the world takes it seriously, they’ve sold a puppy, ”he told AFP.

The pledges made on Tuesday to 2050 follow more ambitious announcements from Australian states and corporations, including mining giant Rio Tinto.

Australia’s major coal consumers, such as India and China, have already said they will phase out thermal coal, and technological advances have made the future of metallurgical coal used for steelmaking increasingly uncertain.

Ahead of the 12-day summit in Glasgow, the UN said more than 130 countries have set or are considering a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, a goal she says is “necessary” to maintain a livable climate.

Nation World News Desk
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