Modelling underpinning Australia’s target of net-zero emissions by 2050 has been lashed by climate groups as falling short of the government’s own goal.
It anticipates Australia’s emissions reducing 85 per cent by 2050, with “further technological improvements” relied on to make up the gap.
“The department considers it likely that further technology breakthroughs and cost reductions beyond those modelled could close the remaining gap to net-zero emissions by or before 2050,” the modelling released on Friday said.
The Climate Council labelled the document “pure spin” and riddled with flaws.
“The most striking thing about this modelling is that it predicts the government won’t reach its own net zero by 2050 goal,” senior researcher Tim Baxter said.
The modelling factors in an average global temperature rise of 2C, which the Climate Council warns will result in the loss of the Great Barrier Reef and the 64,000 Queensland jobs relying on it.
The modelling does not consider the economic consequences of climate change itself.
“If it wasn’t so serious, it would be laughable,” Mr Baxter said.
Prepared by the industry department with analysis by consulting firm McKinsey and Company, the modelling assumes net zero will be achieved through “consumer choice and voluntary adoption of other technologies driven by global trends”.
It anticipates Australia’s major export markets to increase in value by mid-century and electric cars will form about 90 per cent of the market within three decades.
It also foreshadows the potential creation of more than 100,000 jobs, including up to 62,000 in mining and heavy industries.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor said it was a credible pathway to net-zero emissions.
“The modelling shows that a clear focus on driving down technology costs will enable Australia to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 without putting industries, regions or jobs at risk,” he said.
The Australia Institute’s Dr Richard Denniss said most of the emissions reduction was driven by a carbon price of between $24 and $400 in different scenarios.
“But according to the model this carbon price is not charged by government – unbelievably, the modelling assumes companies and consumers impose this charge on themselves.”
The Coalition was criticised for waiting until the end of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow to make its modelling public.
Labor’s climate spokesman Chris Bowen described it as a “scamphlet” and said the opposition would take time to consider the detail.
Meanwhile, the Greens labelled it a recipe for climate collapse including more extreme droughts, floods and fires.
It said a genuine plan would reflect the Paris Accord aim to keep global warming well below 2C and preferably to 1.5C.