Angus Taylor is optimistic great progress is being made at the UN climate change conference in Glasgow, but the emissions reduction minister declined to predict it would achieve a deal to limit global warming to 1.5C.
Speaking to Sky News’ Sunday Agenda from the UK before heading back to Australia, Mr Taylor said it is a very difficult outcome to achieve and everyone understood that from the start.
“I’m not going to predict the final outcome at the political level of this conference,” Mr Taylor said.
“What I am going to say is this conference is recognising, and the world is recognising that the way to actually achieve the best possible outcomes is by deploying technologies with good projects.”
Net zero’s expanding reach
While the world’s leaders have now left Glasgow, the conference and negotiations continue.
“The good news that in relation to the pledges made in Glasgow, the world is now on track to hold global warming to just under two degrees, which is not enough, but a good step forward,” Labor’s climate change spokesman Chris Bowen told ABC’s Insiders program.
“We couldn’t have said that before the conference.”
He said at the start of the year, 50 per cent of the world was covered by a net zero pledge and it’s now 89 per cent.
While Australia is one of those to sign up to a net zero emissions target by 2050, it did not join up to the methane reduction pledge, or commit to phasing out the use of coal.
Labor did not push the government to pursue the methane pledge.
“What I want is a government that takes methane seriously, that has plans in place to reduce methane emissions, working co-operatively with industry and agriculture,” Mr Bowen said.
“That’s not about signing the pledge. It’s about dealing with the issue.”
On coal, Mr Bowen said it is becoming an increasingly smaller part of Australia’s energy mix and that is being determined by the market.
“Our position is there’ll be no new coal-fired power stations in Australia under a Labor government,” he said.
Kind word for China
Chinese President Xi Jinping has been criticised for not attending the Glasgow conference, particularly as his country accounts for one-third of the world’s emissions, but Mr Taylor believes China is still being constructive.
“What is very clear, the Chinese focus on technologies on bringing down emissions in a way which reconciles economic growth with emissions reduction,” he said.
“They are not going to sacrifice economic growth for emissions reduction. That’s not just true of China, it’s India, it’s Southeast Asia.”