Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the federal government would continue a strong focus on technological advancements, rather than forcing the Australians to pay for climate action as the government pursues the goal of reaching net-zero emission targets.
“In Australia, my Government will not tax our way to net-zero emissions,” Morrison said. “I will not put that cost on Australians, and I will particularly not ask regional Australians to carry that burden.”
“Getting to net zero, whether here or anywhere else, should be about technology, not taxes and high prices,” he said.
This year the federal government will action its $18 billion technology investment roadmap (pdf), a five-step plan to reach net-zero emissions, which Morrison wants to see completed ideally by 2050.
Included in the plan is a $1.9 billion investment to develop clean energy technologies such as green hydrogen and Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) from iron and steel mills and the completion of the 27-kilometre Snowy 2.0 hydro-generator tunnel between the two New South Wales dams of Tantangara and Talbingo.
Morrison reiterated that any timeline is reliant on developments in ingenuity, not just about setting targets.
“But when we get there when we get there, whether in Australia or anywhere else, that will depend on the advances made in science and technology needed to commercially transform not just advanced economies and countries, but the developing world as well,” he said.
The Morrison government has been under continuous pressure from the opposition Labor party to clearly commit to the 2050 zero-emissions goal.
Federal shadow minister for climate and energy Chris Bowen has said the opposition is committed to the 2050 target.
Bowen also outlined that he would be developing a path for Australia to reach the 2050 goal, including the creation of interim targets for Australia.
However, the Minister for Finance Simon Birmingham, disagrees that simply setting interim targets is not the key to climate policy.
“Knowing how you will meet and achieve targets delivers certainty,” Birmingham told ABC on Tuesday.
“And so that’s why the investment in technologies is so crucial. And it’s why we’ve outlined in terms of the next steps with that huge growth in renewable energies that I’ve been talking about. You have to look at how you achieve transformation elsewhere across the economy.”
According to Birmingham, Australia has recorded an 11 percent growth in its capacity for renewable energies. While at the time has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent since 2005, far eclipsing reductions set by New Zealand and Canada, he said.