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Finkelís road to zero

TJ Ryan Foundation Research Associate, John Quiggin, writes in Inside Story (6.4.21) about former chief scientist Alan Finkel's advice for the Morrison Coalition government on how it can shift on climate.

'Battered by weeks of revelations about the treatment of women, and with the vaccine rollout falling far behind schedule, the federal government appears to have forgotten about climate change. But Scott Morrison faces some tough decisions over the next few weeks.

'On 22 April, Joe Biden will hold a virtual climate summit aimed at persuading world leaders to take more ambitious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The US president has correctly identified climate change as an “existential threat,” and his US$2 trillion infrastructure package includes substantial investment in renewable energy and electric vehicles. His climate ambassador, John Kerry, has identified Australia as one of the holdouts, linking us to the Bolsonaro regime in Brazil.

'... Everyone outside the lunatic fringe of the government’s backbench knows that the final outcome of this process will be a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. We can do this voluntarily or we can wait to have it forced on us by the trade sanctions being prepared by the European Union and foreshadowed by the United States. Morrison has already inched towards this position by acknowledging that it would be desirable to reach net zero preferably by 2050.

'It would make political as well as economic and environmental sense to make the commitment in time for Biden’s summit. At best, it might shift the domestic focus from the scandals besetting the government. Even if that doesn’t happen, it could hardly do any more damage than the daily run of disasters. Some backbenchers might shift to the crossbench, as Craig Kelly has already done and Andrew Laming will probably be forced to do before long. But they won’t vote to bring down the government, and Morrison has survived minority government before.'

5 reasons why the Morrison government needs a net-zero target, not just a flimsy plan

TJ Ryan Foundation Research Associate, Ian Lowe, writes in The Conversation (6.10.21) that reaching net-zero emissions in Australia will require intense policy focus, private investment and clear accountability.

'Prime Minister Scott Morrison may be warming to a net-zero emissions target by 2050, but Australia is still far from adopting it - largely thanks to resistance from the National Party.

'Should Morrison fail to get the policy over the line, he will no doubt point to the government’s low-emissions technology roadmap as evidence the government still has a climate plan.

'But a vague plan is not enough. That was confirmed by a recent analysis showing Australia’s climate policies are insufficient and have inevitably led to investment in new fossil fuel projects.

'Reaching net-zero emissions will require intense policy focus, private investment and clear accountability - conditions only a firm numerical target can provide. Here are five reasons the Morrison government must, at a minimum, set a target of net-zero emisisons by 2050.'


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