Australia unveils its net zero target for 2050 ahead of Glasgow summit

The climate laggard pledges to reach a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, but will not improve its target for 2030.

Australia will commit to a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 but will not improve on its 2030 target at a crucial United Nations climate summit that begins in Scotland on Sunday, Premier said. Minister Scott Morrison.

“Australians want to take action against climate change. They are taking action against climate change, but they also want to protect their jobs and their livelihoods. They also want to lower the cost of living, ”Morrison said at a press conference Tuesday.

“And I also want to protect the Australian way of life, especially in rural and regional areas. The Australian way of life is unique.

Morrison’s Liberal Party-led Conservative government has hesitated to take significant climate action despite mounting evidence of global warming and catastrophic fires that swept across Southeast Australia in late 2019 and in early 2020. The country’s climate forecasters have already warned the country faces hotter and drier summers.

Earlier on Tuesday, Morrison published an opinion piece in the Australian News Corp newspapers explaining his decision, which will commit to reaching the net zero goal in 2050, but will not improve on a pledge. electoral campaign to reduce emissions between 26% and 28% from 2005 levels by 2030.

“I said we were going to hit and beat that goal and we will,” Morrison wrote.

The policy change comes just before Morrison attends the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. He is expected to leave on Thursday to attend the G20 summit in Rome before heading to Scotland.

Morrison reportedly made the move after making a deal with his coalition government’s junior partner.

Morrison is under increasing global pressure to take further steps to reduce carbon emissions in Australia. The country is one of the world’s largest exporters of coal and liquefied natural gas, as well as one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases per capita.

The National Junior Party, which has a strong power base in areas of the country that are more dependent on agriculture and industries such as mining, has long been a stumbling block for revised climate policies. .

However, the party said on Sunday it would support the 2050 target if Morrison’s cabinet approved the deals reached in secret negotiations.

The Australian Financial Review reported that the deal included an agreement for Morrison to increase spending on regional infrastructure and provide tax breaks for income derived from carbon cultivation.

While the zero emissions target may ease some international pressures, it is less clear how it will resonate in regional and rural Australia.

Morrison is due to call an election by May 2022. A widely followed poll on Monday showed his Liberal party was on track to lose to the center-left Labor Party, which adopted the 2050 net zero target in the last election in 2019.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who will host COP26, praised Australia for its net zero ambition.

“It was very difficult for Australia because Australia relies very heavily on coal, a lot of carbon producing industries, and they did a heroic thing,” Johnson said, referring to the 2050 pledge.

COP26 will assess progress made since 2015, when countries agreed to limit warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Paris Agreement.

The Glasgow meeting is widely seen as the last chance to keep global warming at 1.5 C (2.7 F) above pre-industrial levels.

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