HomeAustralia net zero policy: Scott Morrison questioned over climate change plan

Australia net zero policy: Scott Morrison questioned over climate change plan

When Scott Morrison fronted cameras to reveal a major policy he said this word 80 times. But he is already facing some tough questions.

If you got a dollar for every time Scott Morrison said ‘plan’ today, you’d probably have enough to fill up your car despite record high petrol prices.

The Prime Minister revealed Australia’s ‘plan’ to reach net zero by 2050 ahead of the international climate change conference in Glasgow next week.

In fact, the PM said ‘plan’ at least 80 times during the whole press conference.

And that’s without counting how many times he said it in Question Time.

Under the plan, more than $20 billion will be invested in “low emissions technologies”, including carbon capture and storage, by 2030.

It is expected to generate between $60 billion and $100 billion in “co-investment”.

A “new priority” to deliver “ultra-low-cost solar” power is also included in the plan.

Time Is Now is part of news.com.au’s partnership with the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub, looking at the impacts of climate change across Australia by 2050

Yet despite repeating that word over and over, the main question being asked is how we get there.

As the PM was only too willing to repeat today, this was just about releasing the ‘plan’. When asked when the actual modelling would be released, he did say that yes, it will come ‘eventually’.

“Did you say a moment ago you would release the modelling,” the PM was asked.

“Eventually, yes,” he replied.

“It is not a plan at any cost,” Mr Morrison said.

“There is no blank cheques here. It will not shut down our coal or gas production or exports. It will not impact households, businesses or the broader economy with new costs or taxes imposed by the initiatives that we are undertaking.

“It will not cost jobs, not in farming, mining or gas because what we are doing in this plan is positive things.”

He revealed that emissions are set to be reduced by 30-35 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 — an increase from the previous prediction of 26-28 per cent.

He also stressed that Australia needed to follow the middle ground of what’s good for the country and what’s good for emissions.

“In this debate there are those who will say we will be ruined if we don’t and we will be ruined if we do. What’s important for Australia is we set that middle course and that’s what my Government’s doing,” he said.

He continually stressed the Coalition’s plan to tackle climate change would not involve a tax on carbon emissions like Labor previously introduced.

“Technologies not taxes,” the PM said in a slogan that all Australians will hear many times before the next election.

As his plan revealed today, a lot of predicted emissions will be achieved through technology. So much so, that 15 per cent of the planned emission reduction is earmarked for technologies not even invented yet.

For now, the PM has revealed a climate plan he hopes will be enough to win him the next election.

Mr Morrison was quick to point out that Labor is yet to reveal its climate change policy.

“There is an alternative plan which is not our plan. To be fair, there isn’t, because they haven’t said what it is yet under the Labor Party,” he said.

“They have a target without a plan. They have got not even a target for 2030 let alone a plan for 2050.”

University of NSW climate scientist Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick said the plan was “pretty ambiguous”.

“Sure, they’ve said they’ll commit to net zero by 2050, but where are the new policies? There seems to be talk of some investment in greener energy solutions, which is great, but there’s also a focus on current industries being ‘cleaner’ versions of themselves – how are they going to achieve this?”

Backlash to the Coalition’s net zero plan was swift (unsurprisingly) from the Greens and Labor.

Greens leader Adam Bandt said the PM would be called a “joke” by other world leaders at the climate change conference in Glasgow next week.

“This is a climate fraud. There is no new money, no new policies, and more coal and gas,” he said.

“It’s got 2030 targets that will cook our kids and more coal and gas. This so-called climate plan fails to do what is needed to protect the Australian people and our way of life.”

And Labor leader Anthony Albanese was just as scathing.

“We haven’t seen the modelling, and we haven’t had the detail. Because there is net zero modelling, net zero legislation and net zero unity,” he said.

It is hypocritical for Labor to complain about a lack of detail, when it hasn’t revealed how it’ll act on climate change yet either.

But it does reveal a problem the PM will continue to face.

Until Mr Morrison can actually reveal more details and the modelling that will get us to net zero by 2050, he can expect to keep facing tough questions about his ‘plan’.

Oliver Murray is the news.com.au editor

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