Australia’s Net-Zero Plan Will Only Cut Emissions by a Third
(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s bid to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 will only cut the amount of greenhouse gases being produced in the fossil-fuel dependent nation by a third compared with having no plan at all, according to government modeling.
The nation will still be emitting 215 million tons of emissions by 2050 under its new plan, compared with 316 million tons without it and 536 million tons last year, according to details released Friday.
Modeling shows the nation plans for international offsets to account for 94 million tons worth of reductions. The government expects to close the gap to net-zero with technological advancements emerging over the next three decades, though the report noted that the analysis isn’t a precise prediction of economic or technology trends.
“They might as well assume the invention of hover boards and cheap interplanetary travel,” Richard Denniss, chief economist at the Australia Institute, a think tank, said in a statement. The modeling “shows that their net zero by 2050 ‘plan’ is little more than an exercise in magical thinking,” he said.
The release of the modeling is unlikely to ease criticism of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s policies, with Australia -- one of the world’s top suppliers of fossil fuel -- under pressure during the COP26 summit to enact stronger short-term action to combat climate change.
Morrison’s Climate Plans Disappoint at COP: Bloomberg Australia
About 70% of the planned emission reductions are expected to come from the government’s “technology investment roadmap,” which prioritizes areas including clean hydrogen and carbon capture, “global technology trends” or “further technology breakthroughs,” according to the document.
“It assumes a heroic performance from the federal government’s pet technologies, without interrogating a single one of these wild assumptions,” said Tim Baxter, senior researcher at the Climate Council, an advocacy group.
Australia’s proposals offer a credible plan to curb emissions without putting “industries, regions or jobs at risk,” Energy Minister Angus Taylor said in a statement.
Morrison, whose government relies on support from voters in communities with ties to fossil fuels, including coal-mining, is refusing to impose taxes on polluters, saying strict government intervention on climate change would add pressure on living costs and threaten businesses.
“Climate change will ultimately be solved by ‘can do’ capitalism, not ‘don’t do’ governments seeking to control people’s lives and tell them what to do, with interventionist regulation and taxes that just force up your cost of living and force businesses to close,” Morrison said Wednesday in Melbourne.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.