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Scott Morrison hits back at allegations his net zero by 2050 plan is ‘embarrassing’

The Prime Minister has hit back at claims his net zero plans were “embarrassing” in a bold on-air exchange.

Scott Morrison has hit back at allegations his government’s plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050 is “embarrassing”, as Australia cops international criticism in the lead up to a major climate conference.

Mr Morrison will head to the COP26 summit in Glasgow next week, armed with a 129 page document titled “Australia’s long-term emissions reduction plan”, which outlines how new and existing technologies will drive emissions down to reach net zero by 2050.

More than $20 billion will be invested in low emissions technologies including carbon capture and storage. The plan also revealed Australia would reduce its emissions by up to 35 per cent by 2030, up on the 28 per cent projection.

But, the modelling which has shaped the government’s plan will not be released until a “later time”.

Mr Morrison’s announcement on Tuesday came hours after environmentalist David Attenborough took aim at Australia’s performance on climate change.

Mr Attenborough said Australia was more concerned with the economy than it was the environment and irreversible climate change.

Appearing on Sunrise on Wednesday, Mr Morrison was asked whether it was “embarrassing” that Mr Attenborough had “had a go” at Australia.

“I’m not embarrassed at all when it comes to doing what is right by Australia,” Mr Morrison said.

“Everyone who doesn’t understand Australia, our economy and the challenges we have here are entitled to their opinions, but I will do what is right for Australia and we are getting results.

“Our emissions reduction is better than New Zealand, better than the United States, better than Canada, better than Japan.

“We are getting it done. Our emissions are down, our economy is up. We are showing the way.”

As part of the plan, no legislation will be introduced, with Mr Morrison comparing action on climate change to mobile phones and Covid-19 vaccines, saying Australians knew what the right thing to do was.

“Technology is the thing that has driven the biggest changes we have ever seen, and that is the pathway we get to net zero,” he said.

“We don’t have to shut Australia down, strop digging things up, stop planning things to achieve net zero.

“Australians don’t have to be punished to achieve net zero, that is not our plan.”

With just days to go before the climate conference, the United Nations has urged G20 countries to do more, warning that despite stronger emissions reduction targets, the world is on track to reach warming levels above 2C.

In order to limit warming to between 2.5C and 2C, they said the targets needed to cut a further 28 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases globally per year, beyond what had already been pledged for 2030.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor said legislation wasn’t required.

“We haven’t legislated in the past. That is the approach we take,” he told ABC.

“Lots of countries talk the talk, (but) we walk the walk. We’ve delivered … on Kyoto, we’ll deliver on Paris.

“We’ll meet and beat those targets. We’ve consistently improved our position.

“Lots of countries, companies, states and territories talk the talk. We deliver … We trust the Australian people to adopt technologies.”

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