Australia Aims For Net Zero Emissions By 2050

Scott Morrison Government’s Net Zero Ambition Bets On Solar

Australia Aims For Net Zero Emissions By 2050

Even as Australia enters the club of nations having determined a net zero 2020 target, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s (at the podium) plan has been criticized for lacking clarity and not cutting down on coal or gas production. (Photo Credit: Scott Morrison/Twitter)

  • Australia has declared a net zero emissions goal for the country to be achieved by 2050
  • Low-cost technologies as solar PV will be central to the plan’s achievement as envisioned by the government
  • Government won’t make cut down on coal or gas production and won’t introduce any carbon tax either

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced his country will aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and while there is no clear roadmap offered, the government is inclined to depend on low-cost, low-carbon technologies like solar PV to get there.

Notably, Australia is already a global leader in installed rooftop solar capacity, and ‘ultra low cost solar below $15 per MWh’ will be central to the country meeting its goal, stated the administration. Its projections see more than 100,000 new jobs being created in industries as critical minerals, clean hydrogen, renewable energy, green steel and aluminium en route to achieving the ambition.

However, the government made it clear it won’t introduce a carbon tax, nor will it shut down coal or gas production to get there. There won’t be any forced mandates on what people should buy. Yet it is confident of cutting down its emissions by up to 35% by 2030 as estimated by its own projections.

Coming just a few days before COP26 gets underway, the technology-driven Long Term Emissions Reduction Plan of the Australian government sets out a ‘credible’ pathway to achieve the net zero status based on ‘existing policies’.

Read the plan and one would know the reason behind the federal government’s decision to come out with such a strategy. It reads, “Our Plan recognizes that acting to reduce emissions is in our national interest. If we don’t act, decisions by customer countries will impact our traditional exports, costing jobs and exports. Failing to act increases the risk Australian businesses will face a higher cost of capital.”

Some of the main features of the plan are:

  • Driving down ‘priority technology’ costs including clean hydrogen, ultra low-cost solar, energy storage, low emissions steel and aluminum, carbon capture and storage among others
  • Enabling deployment at scale while incentivizing businesses to adopt low emissions technologies
  • Seizing opportunities in new and traditional markets, including expanding minerals and metals markets that will be needed in low emissions economies as copper, nickel and lithium, exporting low emissions fuels including LNG and uranium, etc.
  • Fostering global collaboration, notable among which is the promise to establish a high integrity Indo-Pacific Carbon Offset Scheme

While welcoming the net zero target, Australian lobby group Clean Energy Council (CEC) pointed out the ‘lack of clarity and positive investment signals’ in the plan and said Australia is likely to be left ‘isolated and unable to make the most of the economic benefits that come with rapid decarbonization’.

Greenpeace Australia said the country has a number of new coal and gas project under consideration hence the net zero plan is ‘selling false hope to workers in transitioning industries’ that expansion of fossil fuel industry would come while reducing emissions.

“The tried and tested way to reduce emissions is to replace fossil fuels with clean energy sources like wind and solar backed up by batteries,” opined Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter. “Plans to pour billions of dollars into the modern-day alchemy of carbon capture and storage and other unproven technologies show that Scott Morrison is not serious about the climate crisis.”

Calling the plan a ‘responsible, practical action’ in ‘national interest’, Morrison had the last word when he said “Australia will continue to build on our record of reducing emissions and achieve our targets in the Australian way.”

The Australian emissions reductions plan is available on the government website.

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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