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Australia announces plan to reach net zero but controversially refuses to set short-term goals

Australia has pledged to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050, joining a host of developed countries as it comes under scrutiny of its massive fossil fuel sector.

The plan, announced by the government on Tuesday, comes a week before the UN Conference of the Parties (COP26) summit, where the country has reportedly been under increased pressure to announce its long-awaited climate action plans.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison had previously said the country has no plans to shut down its massive fossil fuel sector. The plan also does not include an emissions reduction target for 2030.

“Australia now aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and we have a clear plan to achieve it,” Morrison said in a government statement issued on Tuesday following negotiations with MPs. .

“The plan is built on the prosperity and well-being of regional Australia,” he added. “We have the opportunity to act now to harness existing regional strengths, unlock new areas of growth and diversify economic activity in the regions. We will invest in rural and regional Australia to ensure its success and protection under the plan. ”

As part of the new net zero plan, the government plans to invest A $ 20 billion (£ 11 billion) by the end of the decade in developing low-emission technologies.

The plan includes increasing investment in green technologies but excludes taxes or a legislative mechanism for emissions because “these regressive approaches would impose costs on households, businesses and regions least able to afford them.”

He said the intention was to reduce Australia’s emissions while keeping “the economy growing, keeping energy affordable and reliable and ensuring our regions remain strong.”

Under the Paris Agreement, countries have pledged to limit temperature increases to less than 2 ° C by 2050. It requires countries to set carbon neutrality targets, also known as net-zero, this which means a state of purification of as many greenhouse gases as the country emits.

Australia has come under increased pressure to put the brakes on its fossil fuel industry as the country continues to be a major producer and supplier of coal and gas.


The Independent Gt

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