Australia Net zero is not dead: environment minister

05:00  22 june  2021
05:00  22 june  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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Achieving net - zero by 2050, akin to the Green New Deal in the United States, would require a colossal energy transition and use reduction. If one reads the Canadian government’s promotional materials related to net - zero , you can be forgiven for believing the idea is a win-win and no-brainer. Apparently, 120 countries have committed to the plan—not that any are likely to achieve it—and “The transition to a cleaner, prosperous economy needs to be both an immediate priority and a sustained effort over the years and decades ahead.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government pledged on Tuesday to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, if re-elected in an upcoming ballot. The campaign announcement by his environment minister , Catherine McKenna, follows an emotional speech by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg at the UN climate summit on Monday in which she accused world leaders of betraying her generation by failing to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley is digging in on net zero carbon emissions by 2050 despite the new deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce's opposition.

Sussan Ley, Warren Entsch are posing for a picture: Environment Minister Sussan Ley (L) says net zero carbon emissions by 2050 will happen. © Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS Environment Minister Sussan Ley (L) says net zero carbon emissions by 2050 will happen.

"Net zero is not dead in the water," she told journalists in Canberra on Tuesday.

"Net zero will happen as soon as possible and the prime minister has made that very clear."

She said the strength of the Liberal and National coalition was the ability for people to hold different views.

Mr Joyce has been sworn in as Scott Morrison's deputy at Government House, after ousting Michael McCormack as Nationals leader on Monday.

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Speaking at the Whitehall and Industry Group's Net Zero Roundtable, Sir James warned the increased frequency of extreme weather events such as flooding and droughts, along with coastal erosion and damage to biodiversity, was as a result of average global temperatures rising to 1C above pre-industrial temperatures. Image: The Environment Agency warns cutting emissions will not be enough. He called for the private and public sector to adopt what he called " net zero plus" - reducing emissions whilst also adapting to the worst impacts of climate change.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley says the Australian government will challenge a draft recommendation by UNESCO to list the Great Barrier Reef as "in danger", suggesting the decision is politically motivated. The World Heritage Committee will consider the recommendation at a meeting in China next month. Ms Ley says the draft decision was made without the latest information on the health of the Reef. A marine expert says the government should not be surprised by the recommendation.

Shadow minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen said Australia could be hit with a carbon tax as part of the economic cost of not having a net zero target.

"It will be imposed not in Australia but on Australia by other countries," he told Sky News.

Mr Joyce has vowed to protect jobs in farming, mining and manufacturing, which is expected to be a central pillar of the new coalition agreement yet to be struck with the prime minister.

Overnight, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee blindsided the Morrison government with a draft listing of the Great Barrier Reef as "in danger" because of ongoing damage from reef bleaching.

Ms Ley slammed the listing as "politics", even as Australia grapples with its own political stoush on climate and energy.

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Achieving net zero emissions by mid-century is certainly a challenging task, requiring the transformation of Australia’s carbon-intensive economy. But increasingly, net zero is not a controversial ambition. Let’s step through the sequence. Both the trade minister , Simon Birmingham, and the emissions reduction minister , Angus Taylor, have acknowledged over the past couple of weeks that signatories to the Paris agreement (and that’s Australia) have already signed on to achieving carbon neutrality by mid-century, or not long after.

Ms Griffiths, the minister for environment , energy and rural affairs, said: "I want to go further and I am declaring our ambition to bring forward a target for Wales to achieve net zero emissions no later than 2050." Ms Griffiths also urged the UK government to ensure the costs of moving to net zero are spread across the UK and called for closer collaboration across all governments. She said: "I have requested a meeting with my UK and Scottish counterparts to discuss how we will rise to the challenge of climate change together."

Mr Bowen said the government clearly has a prejudice against renewable energy, such as Resource Minister Keith Pitt's veto of a loan for the Kaban commercial wind farm and battery storage project in Queensland.

The project is a centrepiece of the state government's Northern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone.

"There are questions to be answered by Sussan Ley and her refusal to approve the Asian Energy Renewable Hub in the Pilbara," Mr Bowen told Sky News.

The hub would have powered mining in the region but the bulk of the energy was intended for large scale production of green hydrogen products to export to Japan and other "new energy" markets.

Liberal MP Warren Entsch, special envoy for the reef, said there was not a single agricultural representative body in Australia that did not support 2050 as a target.

"And the same goes for the mining sector - most of those are on board," he said.

But Queensland Nationals senator Matt Canavan, who called the spill motion that reinstalled Mr Joyce, is calling for a harder line on emissions and support for coal-fired power.

"There's been a lot of talk about international agreements and what other countries want us to do," he told Nine.

"If there are people in the Liberal Party who support, who are against those interests and jobs and the people I represent, I will fight against them," he said.

Nationals reshuffle sees some old hands return to the frontbench under Barnaby Joyce's leadership .
The Nationals frontbench has a makeover after last week's leadership spill saw Barnaby Joyce oust Michael McCormack as leader of the party. Here's who's in and who's out of Cabinet, to be sworn in on Friday.In: Barnaby JoyceAfter three years on the backbench and one unsuccessful tilt at the leadership last year, Barnaby Joyce again stuck his hand up for the Nationals' top job earlier this week.After a spill motion was moved by Queensland senator Matt Canavan, Mr Joyce was elected the party's new leader.

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