Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s refusal in August to commit to an Australian target of net zero emissions fell flat with much of the Australian public, sparking protests at Parliament House and the Prime Minister’s residence.
Mr Morrison’s refusal to commit to the target came after world leaders issued a “code red” warning on the global climate change situation.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s most authoritative body on climate science, released a damning report described as a “code red for humanity,” by United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres.
“The alarm bells are deafening and the evidence is irrefutable: Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk,” claimed Mr Guterres.
“This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet.”
Wake up call
While UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the report as “a wake-up call” for world leaders to act while there’s still time, Mr Morrison would not make a commitment to a net zero target, citing concerns about increased taxes and a reliance upon future technological advances.
“I won’t be signing a blank cheque on behalf of Australians to targets without plans,” said Mr Morrison.
“Blank cheque commitments you always end up paying for, and you always end up paying in higher taxes.”
Mr Morrison, in a February address to the National Press Club, stated, “Getting to net zero, whether here or anywhere else, should be about technology not taxes and high prices.”
“This year our $18 billion technology investment roadmap gets going…With a $1.9 billion commitment to develop clean energy technologies such as hydrogen, green and steel and CCS.”
Mr Morrison is expected to elucidate upon his government’s plans for action to achieve emissions reductions by 2030 in October at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
While government inertia and hesitance to act decisively upon the most pressing environmental issue of our generation can be disheartening, this hasn’t stopped millions of Australian households and businesses from pitching in and doing their part to commit to a cleaner, greener future with less reliance upon harmful fossil fuels.
According to the Clean Energy Council’s Clean Energy Australia Report 2021, the renewable energy sector showed strong growth through 2020.
The industry passed a significant milestone last year, with more than a quarter of the country’s total electricity generation coming from renewable sources for the first time.
Almost 30% of Australia’s total electricity generated in 2020 came from renewable sources, with small and medium-scale solar systems producing a quarter of our clean energy total.
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