News Politics Australian Politics Morrison rebuffs international climate critics

Morrison rebuffs international climate critics

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has accused critics of his 2050 net-zero plan of not understanding Australia as pressure grows over climate change action.

On Wednesday, Mr Morrison defended his government’s path to 2050 that relies 85 per cent on existing technology and 15 per cent on new breakthroughs.

Under questioning from Labor, he told parliament he would release the modelling that underpins the plan within weeks.

That will be after he returns from crucial COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, where Australia is expected to come under pressure over its 2030 emissions reduction ambitions.

Influential software billionaire and climate advocate Mike Cannon-Brookes slammed the plan as “just more bulls–t”.

A chorus of international and domestic critics, including Sir David Attenborough, have blasted the plan for lacking detail and failing to increase 2030 emissions reduction targets.

Mr Morrison rejected the barrage of disapproval, saying it came from people who wanted to tax, regulate and shut industries down.

“Everyone else who doesn’t understand Australia, our economy and the challenges we have here are entitled to their opinions,” he told the Seven Network.

“But I will do what is right for Australia and we are getting results.”

The government plan claims 100,000 jobs will be created in renewable energy alongside 62,000 roles in regional mining and heavy industry.

It also suggests people will be on average $2000 better off and electricity prices won’t rise.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese questioned Mr Morrison delaying releasing what was behind the plan.

“What is the reason why he says he’s releasing the modelling in a few weeks, rather than now? Don’t Australians deserve the right to see it?” he said in question time.

Senate estimates was told Treasury had little input into the modelling but provided advice to the energy department.

Mr Morrison said Labor was yet to reveal if it would take a 2030 target to the next election and had not released its plan for a 2050 net-zero plan.

The Coalition government is not budging on its 2030 emission reduction target of 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels.

Instead, it projects a cut of 30 to 35 per cent by the end of the decade.

Mr Morrison brandished his smartphone in parliament on Wednesday as he defended pinning hopes on undiscovered and unproven technologies to achieve a chunk of emissions reduction.

“An iPhone would never have been existing if it was based on the assumptions of the Leader of the Opposition,” he said.

“We wouldn’t have had a COVID vaccine. I have more confidence in technological innovation and science than I do in taxes and regulations.”

Labor climate spokesman Chris Bowen said the next election would be a climate-change contest, labelling the announcement a “steaming pile of nothingness”.

The opposition is waiting to see what comes out of the Glasgow summit before finalising a climate policy it will take to voters.

It remains unclear what the Nationals received in exchange for supporting the government’s 2050 commitment other than Resources Minister Keith Pitt returning to cabinet.