Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a climate plan. Well, he’s said some things and not said a whole lot more things. On the things he and Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said (over 60 times in the one speech, actually), the pair reckon ‘technology’ is the way to get us to net zero emissions by 2050.
But the problem with this fandangle net zero technology is that most of it doesn’t exist yet.
Australia’s Long Term Emissions Reduction Plan is described by the PM as “a technology-driven plan” that “sets out a credible pathway to net zero by 2050, while preserving our existing industries, establishing Australia as a leader in low emissions technologies and positioning our regions to prosper”.
The principles for the plan are: technology not taxes; expand choices not mandates; drive down the cost of a range of new technologies; keep energy prices down with affordable and reliable power; and, be accountable for progress.
He says “the plan focuses on driving down technology costs and accelerating their deployment at scale across the economy”. With the plan to hit net zero emission by 2050, Morrison wants to invest more than $20 billion in “low emissions technologies” in the next 10 years.
The plan also identifies the potential for continued technology advances and breakthroughs to unlock ultra low cost solar, he says.
“The plan shows how our priority technologies will deliver 85 per cent of the emissions reductions necessary to achieve net zero by 2050. This is achieved through our strong track record, with emissions already more than 20 per cent lower than 2005 levels, the Technology Investment Roadmap which will reduce emissions by around 40 per cent, global technology trends that will reduce emissions by 15 per cent and high-integrity offsets that will achieve at least a further 10 per cent reduction.”
Morrison said the plan also recognises the role future technology breakthroughs will play in closing the gap, with new and emerging technologies to reduce emissions by a further 15 per cent by 2050.
But reception of his whole-lotta-nothing plan isn’t going as I’m sure Canberra planned.
Ok. I read all 129 pages of the pamphlet. Its not worth the paper I didn’t print it on.
I understand technology damn well. This isn’t a “technology driven approach”. It’s inaction, misdirection & avoiding choices.
I’m going to bed. This is just ridiculously embarrassing.
— Mike Cannon-Brookes ???????????????????????? (@mcannonbrookes) October 26, 2021
Mr Atlassian isn’t alone.
Natural historian, broadcaster and knight, Sir David Attenborough, has since spoken out about the world’s inaction on climate change and he singled out a couple of countries in his plea. You guessed it, Australia is one of them.
Net Zero Tech: Not-So Explained
Anyway. During a press conference later on Tuesday, Morrison and Taylor said ‘technology’ or ‘technologies’ 63 times. Confused by what this technology/technologies actually was, one of our journalist pals asked the PM and his sidekick to elaborate, saying the ‘how’ in his plan was unclear.
This was his reply:
I mean, if we’re going to sit here and think we know everything that’s going to happen between now and 2050, well, of course that’s, I mean, you’re not suggesting that.
I don’t think anyone else is suggesting that.
I mean, if we don’t think there’s been a rapid development in technology on handheld devices in the last 10 years, then we must have been, someone must have been living on a different planet to the rest of us.
That rate of technological advance is a given. It is actually a given in the modern world.
And we’ve seen it in our own lives. We’ve seen it in the way that it’s revolutionised the economy globally. And to not think that that is going to play a role over the next 30 years, that would be, I think, the more surprising assumption.
Not the assumption that says that here are a suite of technologies which account for 40 per cent under our technology investment roadmap, a further 15 per cent that are established global technology trends. Established. And then assuming on top of that, that 15 per cent will come from the evolution and the momentum that is generated by those earlier technology developments, that is what has happened time immemorial, time immemorial.
You just gotta walk into JB Hi-Fi to see.
That is a very safe, it’s probably one of the safest assumptions you can make, that the rapid escalation of technology will continue to drive these costs down. Anyone who’d walk into any JB Hi-Fi store anywhere in the country today and when they walked in there five years ago, will know the change in the price of what they were buying today to what it was five years ago. And the increase in its capacity and its capabilities and all of those things. That is the world we know. This is a plan for the world that we know and where it’s heading.
Ah, thank you. I understand now.