The long-awaited commitment for net zero Australia is finally here. The country formally adopted a plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, ending its status as an outlier among developed nations, many of which had already set this target.
Still, environmental groups are disappointed as they expected more ambitious goals by the government by 2030. The country is on track to cut emissions by up to 35% by 2030 compared with 2005 levels, which is still above its previous target of 26% to 28% reduction.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison answered to critics for further emissions cuts that he won’t formally commit Australia to a more ambitious 2030 target, as voters endorsed the 26% to 28% target when his government was elected in 2019.
Angus Taylor, Australia’s minister for climate change mitigation also added that the country has managed to reduce greenhouse gases by more than 20% from 2005 levels, outpacing the US, Canada, New Zealand, and other major commodity-exporting nations.
There has long been debated whether the country – one of the world’s biggest coal exporters and greenhouse-gas emitters per capita, should become officially net zero Australia by 2050. The Prime Minister led discussions with members of his center-right governing coalition who represent regional areas, where many coal mines and gas fields are located, before announcing the target.
One of the reasons pushing the official commitment could come from the increased pressure the country has been seeing from wildfires. It seems like they are leaving a lasting impression on the national psyche. The country is experiencing concerns about climate change in an increasing number of urban areas.
On the other hand, it was reported by major document leaks that Australia is pushing the UN to scale down the need for immediate phase-out of coal as it wants to keep fossil fuels part of its economy. There was also news that the government is making massive investments in carbon capture technologies just so it can keep digging fossil fuels from the ground.