Australian PM rules out “achievable” net zero emissions target

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a joint press conference at Admiralty House in Sydney, Australia

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ruled out committing to a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050 despite describing it as “achievable.”

Morrison said on Sunday that Australia would achieve net zero emissions in the second half of the century but said that the target would not be legislated by his government.

“I’m more interested in the doing,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) television.

“I know people get very focused on the politics of these commitments, but what I’m focused on is on the technology that delivers lower emissions, lower cost and more jobs.”

“I think those sort of things are achievable with the right investments in the right technology.”

In order to achieve net-zero emissions every tonne of man-made greenhouse gas that is emitted must be matched by a tonne removed from the atmosphere.

Every Australian state has committed to net zero emissions by 2050 as have more than 70 countries.

Morrison’s comments came ahead of the federal government’s release of the technology roadmap on how the energy industry can reduce emissions.

Earlier in September Morrison identified the gas industry as key to Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 and broadened the mandates of the government’s renewable energy investment agencies to include low-emissions technologies.

He said on Sunday that those moves would help achieve net zero emissions without legislating it.

“Our policy is to achieve that in the second half of this century, and we’ll certainly achieve that,” he said.

“And that’s why this week’s announcements were so important because it was about the technology we need to invest in now, which will make it a reality, particularly on the other side of 2030 and I think even the sort of target you’ve talked about, then becomes absolutely achievable.” 

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