Australia Nationals finally agree to support net-zero by 2050 after bitter war
Net zero by 2050 climate plan may not be decided by COP26, as Nationals' Barnaby Joyce warns against being 'forced into a corner'
The Nationals leader says the party may not decide on a net zero by 2050 plan before next month's global climate conference, saying the plan would be shot down if a decision was forced sooner.The Nationals party room was yesterday presented with the government's climate change plan, but failed to come to a decision after hours of wrangling over it.
Prime Ministerwill fly to the COP26 climate talks with a firm plan for net zero by 2050 after a last minute deal with the Nationals.
The row over the issue threatened to rip the Coalition apart with the Nationals apparently unwilling to compromise on proposed Liberal commitments.
But on Sunday, Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce said his party now supported a 'process' to get to net zero emissions by 2050.
The threat of a looming election loss if there was no agreement is said to have been a key reason behind the pragmatic change of heart for the Nationals.
Barnaby Joyce says fossil fuels are Australia's largest export. Is he correct?
Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce says that coal and fossil fuels are Australia's largest export. Is that correct? RMIT ABC Fact Check investigates. The verdictMr Joyce's claim doesn't stack up.By treating fossil fuels as a single category of export, Mr Joyce is making an arbitrary distinction.Fossil fuels represent a type of carbon-based energy product derived from the fossilised remnants of plants and animals.They include coal, liquified natural gas (LNG), oil, liquified petroleum gas (LPG) and other refinery products.To state the obvious, these are all very different products.
'Standing up for them (regional Australians) is making sure that you are in the (cabinet) room where the decisions are being made,' said Mr Joyce.
'Heroics that have no outcome, heroics that leave nothing but a rhetorical flourish - but leave the person who is hurting in the same position as what they were - is not an outcome the Nationals party room supported.'
The final blueprint has yet to be drawn up for the PM to take when he jets off to the UK on Thursday.
However a submission will go before Cabinet this week and the deputy prime minister said he expected it to have a 'firm commitment' to regional Australia.
Mr Joyce claimed it would be a better deal for the regions when he emerged from the two hour party room meeting in Canberra on Sunday.
Net zero policy will protect regions: PM
The Morrison government is a cabinet meeting away from locking in a plan for net zero emissions by 2050 after the Nationals assented to the climate target.The Nationals partyroom on Sunday gave the green light for a cabinet submission to go forward, ahead of Mr Morrison attending UN climate talks in Glasgow.
'The position regional people are in now is better than the terms and the process that was initially delivered to us,' he said.
'We are in support of a process going forward that would go towards a 2050 emissions target.
'Obviously that depends upon what we see in the cabinet submission reflecting the conversations and agreements between myself and the prime minister.'
He declined to say whether the prime minister had agreed to give the Nationals an extra cabinet position during the negotiations.
No deal with the Nationals could have been a major embarrassment for the prime minister heading to Glasgow.
It could also have had an impact when he goes to the polls by May, with climate shaping up as a major issue for voters.
Mr Joyce acknowledged many Nationals supporters held a different position and continued to have concerns about the target.
Good morning, early birds. Scott Morrison will today ask cabinet to endorse a target of net zero by 2050, and a traditional owner has made an urgent plea to the Queensland government to block Adani from clearing 3000 cubic metres of land. It's the news you need to know, with Emma Elsworthy.Incredibly, nine of the 21 Nationals MPs voted against the net zero target in the two-hour party room meeting yesterday. George Christensen — who wore a t-shirt to the meeting that said “support coal” — is reportedly thinking of joining the crossbench in protest of the target, a threat which is nothing new.
'But for all those people in regional Australia ... we will be going into bat for them as we always do,' he said.
Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud said it was important that Australia faced up to its international commitments but also made sure there were safeguards.
'The technology roadmap that (Energy Minister) Angus Taylor has put together gives us comfort around where that can take us and particularly around protecting existing jobs and how that technology can grow regional jobs,' he said.
Nationals Senate leader Bridget McKenzie said climate policy had been a 'totemic issue' for the party over many years and she was glad the party room had 'respectfully come to a decision'.
Mr Joyce declined to go into detail about the cabinet submission.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said it was extraordinary Mr Morrison was not in the room where decisions were being made about Australia's economic and environmental future.
'This is a government that is frozen in time while the world warms around. This is not really a government, more like a rabble,' he told reporters in Canberra.
Barnaby Joyce ordered Scott Morrison give Nationals extra cabinet seat
The return of Nationals resources and water minister Keith Pitt to the government's inner sanctum was a non-negotiable conditions for Barnaby Joyce's support.The return of resources and water minister Keith Pitt to the government's inner sanctum was a non-negotiable condition for Nationals support, it's been revealed.
Liberal frontbencher Alan Tudge dismissed the suggestion the government's junior partner is deciding policy.
'They quite rightly have their own party room. They can debate these issues.'
Earlier, NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said Nationals ministers would need to resign if they did not support the prime minister.
Mr Kean said a global 'economic arms race' was under way in terms of the next generation of clean energy jobs, investment and exports.
He the federal government should also upgrade its 2030 emissions target if it was to be taken seriously.
COP26 is the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, running from October 31 to November 12, after it was postponed last year because of Covid.
Net zero: Just patching over emissions or path to save planet? .
Over 190 nations committed to limiting global warming in an effort to stave off the worst effects of climate change.Scientists say bringing global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to “net zero” by 2050 is the way to meet the central goal of the Paris Agreement, although it was left to individual states to work out how to achieve what they signed up to.