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 COP26 climate conference - what you need to know

What is COP26? 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.

COP26 is the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties summit which will be held in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November.

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 COP26:

  • US President Joe Biden, climate envoy John Kerry, climate adviser and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, and 10 other US cabinet officials.

  • Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison. In the days leading up to COP26, Mr Morrison committed Australia to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Prince Charles, Prince William, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge are also attending. The Queen has withdrawn from visiting after being advised by her doctors to rest - she will address the conference virtually instead.

China's President Xi Jinping, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil are among the leaders that have decided not to travel to Glasgow.

Back to top

What is it hoping to achieve?

1. Achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels - Countries are being encouraged to set ambitious 2030 emissions targets. They are also encouraged to accelerate the phase-out of coal, clamp down on deforestation, speed up the switch to electric vehicles and encourage investment in renewables.

2. Protect natural habitats and communities from climate change disasters

3. Finances for a greener future - In 2009, developed countries were asked to keep to their promises to contribute at least $100 billion (£72.5 billion) per year by 2020 to protect the planet. In 2015, it was agreed that the goal would be extended to 2025.

However, new analysis shows the goal is unlikely to have been met last year and is on track to fall short in 2021 and 2022.

4. Getting all countries and organisations to work together to tackle the climate crisis

Back to top
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.