Australia Treasurer Josh Frydenberg publicly backs net zero by 2050 target, as government inches towards commitment

08:55  24 september  2021
08:55  24 september  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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The federal government is yet to set a target of net zero emissions by 2050 but the Treasurer has used a speech and several media appearances to push the case to finalise a plan.

Australia is under increasing international pressure to agree to the 2050 goal, with the US and UK seeking assurances Australia will deliver a sufficient reduction on emissions.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has expressed his desire for Australia to reach net zero emissions "preferably" by 2050, but internal division within the government has prevented him from setting a legislated target.

With just weeks to go before a major climate summit in Glasgow, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg warned investors could take their money elsewhere if Australia was seen as lagging on climate action.

IMF urges Australia to tighten controls on industrial polluters

  IMF urges Australia to tighten controls on industrial polluters IMF Australia mission chief Harald Finger says given Australia is not using a carbon price to drive down greenhouse gases, it should toughen the rules around industrial emissions. He said many countries had adopted a net zero target and "if Australia were to join [them] we would welcome that".Carbon pricing was the most effective way to transition to a lower emissions economy, Mr Finger said, warning Australia's so-called safeguard mechanism had "not been very binding".

"Australia has a lot at stake," he said during a virtual speech to business leaders.

"We cannot run the risk that markets falsely assume we are not transitioning in line with the rest of the world."

Frydenberg warns households will suffer if Australia is punished

Mr Frydenberg said if markets believed Australia was not acting on climate change, it could have an effect on households and small businesses.

"When it comes to Commonwealth government bonds, close to half are held by foreign investors," he said.

"Reduced access to these capital markets would increase borrowing costs, impacting everything from interest rates on home loans and small business loans to the financial viability of large-scale infrastructure projects."

Joyce calls for caution on net zero target

  Joyce calls for caution on net zero target Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce says Australia needs to be cautious in adopting a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050.The deputy prime minister argues the United Kingdom's gas crisis, which has sent prices skyrocketing and triggered a carbon dioxide shortage, shows the need to be cautious on climate policy.

Mr Frydenberg insisted Australia was doing enough to tackle climate change but indicated the government should better explain the action that had been taken.

"We have been part of that transition, we are part of that transition, and we will be part of that transition," he said.

Treasurer backs firm net zero target

Mr Frydenberg said the government was yet to make a final decision about a 2050 target but when asked for his view he backed the idea.

"I certainly see it [as being] in our interest being part of these global agreements, and many countries, over 100, have agreed to net zero," he told ABC News Breakfast.

"So we are making progress internally in respect to that target … we haven't made any formal decisions yet.

"Hopefully we get the right result."

The Treasurer also took questions after giving his speech and made clear that reaching an agreement within government would be difficult.

Zeroing in, zeroing out

  Zeroing in, zeroing out Good morning, early birds. The National Party refuses to sign up to a target of net zero emissions by 2050, and Victoria is on track to receive modest easing of restrictions from Wednesday. It's the news you need to know, with Emma Elsworthy.Tensions are brewing in the fractured National Party over climate action — yesterday coal fanboy Matt Canavan tweeted he was “deadset against net zero”, saying it “would just make us weaker”. Conversely, as Reuters reports, Australia faces an imminent risk of global ostracisation if we don’t act on net zero, with the trickle-down to be copped by households and small business, as Treasurer Josh Frydenberg explained last week.

"It is a sensitive topic and there's no hiding the fact there are differing views among some of the colleagues, but at the same time people recognise the systemic and structural changes that are taking place," he said.

There are some within the Nationals that have voiced their concerns about the 2050 target and have warned it could hurt the resources and agriculture sectors.

In his strongest indication yet he may be prepared to accept a net zero target, Nationals leader and Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce indicated he would support reaching net zero emissions, provided regional areas did not suffer under the plan.

"I've got no problems with any plan that does not leave regional areas hurt," he told the ABC.

But some Nationals remain unconvinced the target will not cause problems for the agriculture and resource sectors.

The Treasurer used his speech to also send a somewhat pointed message to the finance sector not to boycott or withhold funding from big emitters.

He said businesses had a lot to gain from cutting their carbon footprint but to do it they would need support.

"It is wrong to assume that traditional sectors like resources and agriculture will face decline over the course of this transition," he said.

"There is a message to Australian banks, super funds and insurers.

"If you support the objective of net zero, do not walk away from the very sectors of our economy that will need investment to successfully transition."

But Shadow Energy Minister Chris Bowen said the government was taking too long to come up with a long-term plan.

He accused the Treasurer of talking but not acting on tackling climate change.

"If Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg really think that net zero is such a good idea, why don't they get on and do it," he said.

"I mean, enough speeches, enough sound grabs, enough positioning. Change the policy of the country."

Podcast politics: revelation-free Josh comes up ‘nice’ as he bats the softest of blows .
The Josh Frydenberg Podcast shows the human, relatable side of the treasurer, and should probably be taken with a sizeable grain of salt.Host Sarah Grynberg’s primary project (her “mission”, as it says on her tasteful and spare website) is talking to people who “cultivate greatness” — with the aim of subsequently unlocking it in listeners. So fresh from interviewing Matthew McConaughey, she sat down with the treasurer to get answers to “the important questions, the ones often not asked in the media”.

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