It’s the vibe… Govt’s net-zero plan panned for lack of detail

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (net-zero plan)
Image: Shutterstock.com

Announcing its long-awaited net-zero emissions plan, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said ‘technology breakthroughs’ would help Australia meet its 2050 reductions targets despite failing to give details or provide modelling.

With his trip to the UN climate summit in Glasgow looming, Morrison revealed the government’s plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and updated Australia’s 2030 projection to between 30-35 per cent, calling it a “practical way” forward.

“The principles are: technology not taxes; expand choices not mandates; drive down the cost of a range of new technologies; keep energy prices down with affordable and reliable power; and, be accountable for progress,” the government stated.

Related article: The Nationals finally agree to a 2050 net-zero target, but the real decisions on Australia’s emissions are happening elsewhere

“The plan focuses on driving down technology costs and accelerating their deployment at scale across the economy. 

“Over the next decade, our existing $20 billion investment in low emissions technology is expected to unlock at least $80 billion of total private and public investment, including in clean hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and energy storage.

“Australia now has a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, and we have a clear plan for achieving it. The plan outlines responsible, practical action to achieve net-zero that is in our national interest.”

The government’s plan showed almost a third of the abatement task would comprised cuts via unspecified “technology breakthroughs” and “global trends” while a further 20 per cent would be achieved through unexplained offsets.

The government has refused to release modelling underpinning the plan and further details have been kept under wraps, with Labor labelling the plan a “scam” that was “based on a vibe”.

Similar sentiment was echoed by the Clean Energy Council.

“The last month has been another disappointing chapter in the politics of climate change in Australia,” it said in a statement.

Related article: Leaked documents show Australia lobbied UN to change climate report

“While the federal government has recognised the importance of a commitment to net-zero by 2050 emissions target, a refusal to take on greater ambition over the next decade will likely leave Australia isolated and unable to make the most of the economic benefits that come with rapid decarbonisation.

“Without a stronger 2030 target, there remains a lack of clarity and positive investment signals to accelerate the decarbonisation of Australia and take advantage of the enormous economic opportunity in play.

“Today’s announcement does little more than echo the commitments and action already underway by state governments, businesses and households.”