The Morrison government pledged an additional $565.8 million towards cleaner technologies as part of of the virtual climate summit that saw other global leaders pledging much more ambitious targets. So what exactly does that mean?
We already know that Prime Minister Scott Morrison has shown little (see: zero) interest in meeting the net-zero by 2050 target adopted by many of our international mates, and has continually refused to put a time frame on exactly when we’ll reach this much-needed target.
Meanwhile, other countries like the US are quite literally running circles around us when it comes to climate change, with President Joe Biden committing to at least halve his country’s emissions by 2030.
And then we’ve got UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who pledged a 78% emissions reduction by 2034.
But Morrison? Nothing. Crickets.
According to Morrison, the transition to net-zero is a job that is better left to “pioneering” Australian companies like Fortescue, BHP and Rio Tinto — aka the companies with huge investments in fossil fuels.
Instead, he is focussing on making low-emissions technologies more affordable by co-funding partnerships with international companies, with Australia’s major goal being to produce the world’s cheapest “clean hydrogen.” The plan promises to generate $3-$5 worth of investment for every dollar it costs us, as well as up to 2500 jobs for Australians.
“The world is changing and we want to stay ahead of the curve by working with international partners to protect the jobs we have in energy-reliant businesses and create new jobs in the low emissions technology sector,” Mr Morrison said in a statement. “As we look to take advantage of these new export opportunities, we won’t look to reduce our own emissions by shutting down our existing export industries like agriculture, aluminium, coal and gas.”
So…. We won’t look to reduce our own emissions? Cool.
But despite giving us quite literally nothing when it comes to a net-zero target, Morrison asserted that future generations will “thank us not for what we have promised, but what we deliver.”
However, it appears our Prime Minister has missed the whole point of the net-zero target, which aims to ensure that there’s actually a planet for those future generations to exist on. If we continue to simply ignore the danger that is staring us in the face, there won’t be future generations to thank us.
The new announcement, which will see eight years’ worth of funding, is in addition to the $539 million Morrison pledged to hydrogen and carbon capture hubs on Wednesday.
Investing in cleaner energy is welcomed, and critical to the long-term future of our country and its economy, but there’s no reason why we can’t invest in green tech AND commit to net-zero by 2050.