The National Party has finally confirmed it will support the federal government’s net zero emissions target by 2050.
The announcement did not include any changes to Australia’s 2030 emissions target and coincides with the release of the United Nation’s landmark Emissions Gap Report which will be released later today.
The report shows many of the world’s wealthiest nations have still not made net-zero pledges.
Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, welcomed the Nationals in-principle support for net zero but did not provide any details.
“I look forward to this matter now being finally considered and determined by cabinet,” Morrison said.
“Only the coalition can be trusted to deliver a plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 that will protect and promote rural and regional Australia.”
Energy Minister Angus Taylor is expected to reveal new projections which show Australia’s 2030 target will be beaten, but the government won’t be raising the 26 to 28 per cent target itself.
This is despite modelling commissioned by the Business Council showing a 46 per cent target for 2030 and a net zero target for 2050 could deliver $210 billion in economic benefits.
The Carbon Market Institute (CMI) welcomed the net zero news yesterday but said it is a disappointment the government didn’t set a stronger 2030 target.
CMI CEO, John Connor, said the announcement could mark the end of Australia’s decades-long climate wars.
“The lack of a stronger 2030 target in the form of an updated nationally determined contribution (NDC) is not just a missed opportunity in accelerating clean economy investment opportunities, but a handicap on our negotiators in Glasgow at COP26,” he said.
Meanwhile, a ground-breaking study was released by the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh overnight and published in the international energy journal Joule.
It explores the economic implications of imposing a carbon takeback obligation on the global fossil fuel industry, and shows it provides an affordable and low-risk route to net zero emissions, particularly if complemented by conventional measures to reduce near-term fossil fuel demand.
“Imagine a single policy, imposed on one industry, which would, if enforced consistently, stop fossil fuels causing global warming within a generation,” the study said.
“The Carbon Takeback Obligation could do just that. It requires fossil fuel extractors and importers to dispose safely and permanently of a rising fraction of the CO2 they generate, with that fraction rising to 100 per cent by the year of net-zero. Critically, this would include carbon dioxide generated by the products they sell.”
Margriet Kuijper, an independent expert in carbon capture and storage who reviewed the work, said the proposal would provide a safety net.
‘A Carbon Takeback policy as proposed in this paper will provide a safety net to make sure we achieve net zero emissions even if we don’t manage to reduce the use of fossil fuels quickly enough,” she said.
“It extends the responsibility of producers to take care of the waste generated by the use of their products. The polluter pays to clean up. And the costs are included in the product price. As it should be.”