Australia govt says climate change targets can't risk economy, jobs

Topics Australia | Climate Change | economy

Australia govt says climate change targets can’t risk economy, jobs | Photo: Wikimedia
Australia’s government will work to set new long-term plans on reducing greenhouse gas emissions ahead of a key global summit this year, though signaled it won’t pursue policies that pose risks to jobs or growth. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has faced pressure over his climate and energy strategy in the wake of Australia’s deadly wildfires, has criticized opponents for pledging to target net zero emissions by 2050 without detailing how they’ll safeguard economic expansion.

“If we make the wrong decisions, not only would we be harming the Australian economy, harming Australian workers, we would also be harming the global environment,” Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said in an interview on Sky News.

Australia’s plans will need to account for the production of materials including liquefied natural gas, which is exported to markets  like China or Japan and typically displaces more polluting energy sources, Cormann said. “We know that that helps reduce global emissions by more,” he said.

Following the fires, Morrison, who won a national election in May and won’t face a new poll until late 2022, has appeared to signal he’ll resist any quick shift to more extensive cuts to carbon emissions. His Liberal-National coalition government also remains cautious over the impact on a coal sector that employs about 50,000 workers, according to the Minerals Council of Australia, an industry group.

Morrison’s government will finalize long-term emissions reduction proposals ahead of the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow in November, Cormann said.

Australia may continue to be an exporter of thermal coal in 2050, according to Anthony Albanese, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, that’s targeting net zero emissions by that date.

“That will be determined by the market and by international agreements,” Albanese told ABC Television in an interview. “You don’t measure the emissions where the original product comes from -- Japan isn’t responsible for the emissions of every vehicle that’s built in Japan.”

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel