Australia will 'meet and beat' lower emissions targets, says Scott Morrison

Australia's prime minister Scott Morrison has said his country will 'meet and beat' lower carbon emissions targets Credit: PA

Australia's prime minister Scott Morrison has said his government will "meet and beat" its targets for lower carbon emissions.

The prime minister said Australia will reduce emissions by 35% below 2005 levels by 2030 and he committed to the country reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Mr Morrison said: "We will meet it and we will beat it", in reference to the 2030 target.

He added: “We’ll beat it with emissions reductions we believe of up to 35% and we may even achieve better".

Scientists have said climate change increases the risk of wildfires in Australia. There were fires in Perth (pictured) earlier this year Credit: AP

The Sydney-born prime minister said Australia has already reduced carbon emissions by more than 20% from 2005 levels.

Investment in green technologies - and incentives to use them - will be introduced for Australia to meet its goal. The Australian government said it will invest at least 20 billion Australian dollars (about £10 billion) in low-emissions technology by 2030.

Boris Johnson said Australia had done "a heroic thing" by committing to net zero by 2050. The UK's prime minister - who will host the COP26 climate summit - acknowledged the country's reliance on coal and natural gas and said low emissions targets would be "very difficult" for Australia and its government.

The COP27 climate conference - what you need to know

What is COP27? When and where will it be?

Each year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meets at what is called the Conference of the Parties (abbreviated as COP) to discuss the world's progress on climate change and how to tackle it.

COP27 is the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties summit which will be held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt from November 6-18.

Who is going?

Leaders of the 197 countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - a treaty that came into force in 1994 - are invited to the summit.

These are some of the world leaders that will be attending COP27:

  • UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is attending the conference, after initially saying he wouldn't as he was too busy focusing on the economy within his first weeks in office.

  • US President Joe Biden and his experienced climate envoy, John Kerry, will appear at the talks.

  • France President Emmanuel Macron will also be among the heads of state from around the world staying in Egypt.

King Charles III will not be attending COP27, despite being a staunch advocate for the environment. The decision was made jointly by Buckingham Palace and former prime minister Liz Truss.

Elsewhere, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will not attend the talks just as they decided to do for COP26.

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What is it hoping to achieve?

1. Ensure full implementation of the Paris Agreement and putting negotiations into concrete actions - included within this is the target of limiting global warming to well below 2C.

2. Cementing progress on the critical workstreams of mitigation, adaptation, finance and loss and damage, while stepping up finance notably to tackle the impacts of climate change.

3. Enhancing the delivery of the principles of transparency and accountability throughout the UN Climate Change process.

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More than three billion animals have been affected in Australian wildfires, over the past three years Credit: AP

Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of coal and liquified natural gas. Morrison said his government's net zero target would not shut down Australia’s coal or gas production. He also ruled out low emissions targets leading to higher costs for households and business. He said: “It is not a revolution but a careful evolution to take advantage of changes in our markets”.

Scientists have said climate change increases the risk of wildfires in Australia. The World Weather Attribution consortium said global warming means a 30% increase in the risk of hot and dry weather, which can cause wildfires.

Morrison, who has been prime minister since 2018, said Australians want action on climate change, but want low emissions policies that don't negatively impact their money and jobs:

"They’re taking action on climate change but they also want to protect their jobs and their livelihoods. They also want to keep the costs of living down," he said.