An undertaking to make Australia a net zero carbon emitter by 2050 has been affirmed by Australia’s opposition Labor Party today, with Opposition leader Anthony Albanese adopting the policy his predecessor took to the last election.
All of Labor’s policies have been up for review since its shock loss in last May’s federal election.
However, in a sign the party is beginning to lock in policies it will take to the next election, Mr Albanese has recommited his party to the 2050 commitment in a speech in Melbourne.
It remains unclear, however, what emission target Labor will seek to achieve by 2030.
While announcing the 2050 goal, Mr Albanese did not outline how Labor would achieve it, a move the party’s climate change spokesman defended.
“There is a process of developing policy. You start with core principles, you then start talking to organisations like the Business Council of Australia and the so many other businesses and stakeholder groups about the details so that well before the election there is a detailed policy that we as the alternative government can put before the Australian people.”
The conservative Liberal-National government is yet to make up its mind on whether to back a 2050 net zero target.
As well as adopting the clear 2050 target that the Liberal-National Prime Minister Scott Morrison appears reluctant to sign up to, in part because of an ongoing conflict with the Liberal and National parties on the issue, media reports say the Labor shadow cabinet has also decided to oppose using any carryover credits from the Kyoto Protocol to meet future emissions reductions targets.
The Liberal-National government plans to use carryover credits to meet about half of Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target.
Labor was criticised at the last election for not being able to explain how much its climate policies would cost.
If it had won the election, the party planned to cut emissions by 45 per cent, based on 2005 levels, by 2030.
“We are going to have to take advice about what a proper, responsible, medium-term target to release in 2022 is going to be,” he said.
“But I make this commitment, it will be consistent with the pathways set out in the Paris Agreement, consistent with net zero emissions by the middle of the century.”
“It’s absolutely crucial we focus on getting outcomes for 2030, that’s where we’re focused, and it’s also crucial that any target that’s set has a clear plan to get there and is properly costed,” Mr Taylor told ABC News.
Labor’s plan is also facing criticism from the Australian Greens Party, with new leader Adam Bandt arguing Labor needed to lock in a short-term goal before adopting a long-term target.
“We need strong 2030 targets. Labor, by ditching its 2030 targets and instead focusing on a 2050, that blows the Paris Agreement, is letting Scott Morrison off the hook, because now there’ll be less pressure on him to take action by 2030.”
Last October, Mr Albanese sought to recast Labor’s climate policy as part of a new industrial revolution, saying the shift to clean energy would underpin an Australian manufacturing boom that unlocks new jobs and export opportunities.
“The world is decarbonising,” Mr Albanese said.
“With the right planning and vision, Australia can not only continue to be an energy exporting superpower, we can also enjoy a new manufacturing boom. This means jobs.”
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