Problems with climate action consensus: PM

Georgie Moore
(Australian Associated Press)


Scott Morrison has canvassed the difficulties of getting coalition colleagues on board with a commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The prime minister continues to equivocate when asked whether he will attend United Nations climate talks in Glasgow at the end of this month.

Other nations are heaping pressure on Australia to not just agree to net zero by 2050, but to strengthen mid-term emissions reduction targets as well.

Mr Morrison has said “difficult conversations” about climate policies within the coalition are ongoing, weeks out from the COP26 summit in Scotland.

“We can’t avoid these difficult questions and it does require a lot of debate internally to work it through together,” he told the Nine Network on Tuesday.

“What I’m doing is working to bring the government together on a clear plan to reduce emissions, transition to this new economy which is coming and make sure that Australia is not left in an uncompetitive position.”

An increasing number of Nationals have started to come around to net zero by 2050.

Those still vocal in their resistance include backbencher Matt Canavan and Resources Minister Keith Pitt.

Also among them is cabinet minister Bridget McKenzie, who last week said she was yet to set eyes on the government’s net zero plan.

Mr Morrison maintains he is focused on explaining the government’s climate change policy to Australians.

He has repeatedly indicated in-person attendance at Glasgow is not a top priority, but insists the country will be represented by a senior minister.

The coalition previously committed to reducing emissions between 26 and 28 per cent below 2005 levels under the 2015 Paris accord.

NSW state Liberal MP Andrew Constance thinks everyone is fed up with political fighting about climate action as he prepares to contest pre-selection for the federal seat of Gilmore.

“I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that we never ever see the type of firestorm events that we saw (in 2019-20),” he told ABC radio.

The moderate Liberal and current member for Bega, which was hit hard by the fires, welcomed the Nationals’ desire to ensure adequate support for farmers with a climate target.

“That said, though, we can’t forget the human face and the human impact of climate change because we’re experiencing it ourselves,” Mr Constance said.

“One of my passions for running federally and seeking Liberal Party pre-selection is to ensure that we have people who have experienced the true human impact of these (things).”

Labor frontbencher Bill Shorten compared Mr Morrison “dodging” Glasgow to “a kid not bringing his homework or turning up to school that day”.

The federal opposition says a more ambitious medium-term emissions target is needed.

Meanwhile, think tank Rewiring Australia has flagged broader use of household solar, batteries and electric vehicles will save Australian households an average of $5000 a year on power, appliance and car costs by 2050.

It would also cut domestic emissions by a third and give Australia room to improve on its 2030 emissions reduction target.


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