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Coal mining or climate action? Australia faces up to COP26 | Climate Crisis News

Canberra, Australia – Days before departing for Glasgow to attend COP26, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the Australian government’s plan to combat climate change.

Morrison described his government’s commitment to achieving net zero by 2050 as a major breakthrough, but many Australians are sceptical.

This is, after all, the man who as treasurer in 2017, produced an actual lump of coal during Parliamentary Question Time, and gleefully proclaimed: “This is coal, don’t be afraid!” while other ministers chuckled with amusement.

Morrison’s latest plan – described as “the Australian way” to reduce carbon emissions – relies heavily on unspecified “low emissions technology” breakthroughs and controversial “clean hydrogen”, alongside changes in land use and increased business and homeowner-led uptake of renewable energy.

And while the prime minister will be taking the net zero by 2050 ambition to COP26, no new legally binding targets have been announced. Australia will stick to its 2030 target of reducing emissions by between 26 and 28 percent from 2005 levels. This is despite the fact that, per capita, Australia is one the world’s largest carbon emitters, releasing about 17 metric tonnes per person every year, more than three times the global average.

Morrison, who only two weeks ago refused to commit to attending COP26 at all, says this plan will lead Australia into a sustainable future. His government claims it will increase gross national income and create as many as 62,000 new jobs.

No modelling was released to accompany the policy, and scientists, academics and business people are particularly alarmed at the lack of detail.

“Australia is scrambling at the eleventh hour to get to a national position on 2050 while the rest of the world has moved on to ambitious 2030 targets to halve emissions,” said Susan Harris Rimmer, Director of the Policy Innovation Hub at Griffith University. Rimmer described the plan as “a pathetic national position to take to COP26”.

Mike Cannon-Brookes, the co-founder of technology firm Atlassian, went further, calling the plan “just more bullsh**” and “ridiculously embarrassing”.

Coal exports

Australia has had a longtime love affair with fossil fuels, particularly coal. The country produces substantially more coal than it consumes, and coal exports contribute around 50 billion Australian dollars ($37.5bn) a year to national income. In 2019-20 alone, Australia exported 213 million tonnes.

Including fossil fuel exports in carbon emissions, makes…

Read More: Coal mining or climate action? Australia faces up to COP26 | Climate Crisis News

2021-10-30 21:36:13

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