The federal government has avoided being accountable for its net zero by 2050 plan as the target will not be enshrined in legislation.

While the net zero pledge has alleviated international criticism ahead of the United Nations COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, it has been labelled a hollow promise by the Opposition.

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said the roadmap to net zero will rely on technology, not legislation, pointing out that the government has invested $20 billion in the development of new climate technologies.

Opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, said no detail has been provided because there is nothing new, the government is relying on policies introduced under former leader, Tony Abbott.

“There is nothing new in this plan. As always with this prime minister, it is all about marketing. All about the spend, never about the substance,” he said.

Earlier today the United Nations released its annual Emissions Gap Report 2021 which shows that new national climate pledges combined with other mitigation measures put the world on track for a global temperature rise of 2.7°C by the end of the century.

That is well above the goals of the Paris climate agreement and would lead to catastrophic changes in the Earth’s climate. To keep global warming below 1.5°C this century, the aspirational goal of the Paris Agreement, the world needs to halve annual greenhouse gas emissions in the next eight years.

If implemented effectively, net-zero emissions pledges could limit warming to 2.2°C, closer to the well-below 2°C goal of the Paris Agreement, the report said.

Many national climate plans delay action until after 2030. The reduction of methane emissions from the fossil fuel, waste and agriculture sectors could help close the emissions gap and reduce warming in the short term, the report finds.

A total of 49 countries plus the European Union have pledged a net-zero target. This covers over half of global domestic greenhouse gas emissions, over half of GDP and a third of the global population. Eleven targets are enshrined in law, covering 12 per cent of global emissions.

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