Australia ‘Confident’ It Won’t Use Controversial Carbon Credits
(Bloomberg) -- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he is “very confident” the nation won’t use controversial emissions-reduction credits to meet its Paris Agreement commitments.
Australia has beaten its emissions-reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol by 459 million tonnes and has “improved” its position in achieving its 2030 goal in the past two years, Morrison said. Currently, the nation’s emissions are almost 17% below the level they were in 2005, he said in text of a speech to the Pacific Islands Forum Friday night.
“Australia is very confident that we will now achieve our 2030 target without the need to draw on our carry-over credits that Australians earned from overachieving on our Kyoto-era commitments,” he said.
Morrison’s commitment comes as the United Nations Climate Action Summit meets on Saturday. He isn’t attending and has indicated he would provide commentary on the nation’s policies rather than make an ambitious pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Local media reported Morrison had initially planned to use the event to indicate the credits -- that help countries skirt their pledges to lower pollution -- wouldn’t be used to meet its commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Australia -- the world’s third biggest emitter per person -- has steadfastly refused to join developed peers in targeting emissions neutrality by 2050 as it champions oil and natural gas exports in pulling the country out of the pandemic-induced recession. That contrasts with announcements by its three biggest customers -- China, Japan and South Korea -- that they will pursue targets to effectively eliminate emissions.
Morrison steered clear of the commitment Friday, saying Australia will make new goals ahead of the next round of global climate talks, known as COP26, in 2021. Instead, focus should be on producing so-called green steel and aluminum at competitive prices while reducing carbon capture and storage technology costs, he said.
“Global targets are important,” Morrison said. “But unless those practical targets can be met with these types of technologies, then they will only remain ambitions and the emissions will continue to rise.”
The speech is unlikely to be well received by the Pacific Island Forum given Morrison “tried to convince regional leaders that climate ambition was not as important as investing in technologies like carbon capture and storage, mainly used to sell the notion of clean coal,” said Richie Merzian, climate and energy director at the Australia Institute.
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