The internal rift within the National and Liberal parties over the 2050 emissions target and Nationals Senator Matt Canavan’s claim that ‘net zero is dead’ reveal a divided government out of touch with the majority of Australians on climate action.
Australia’s biggest ever climate change poll, conducted in January this year, showed a majority of people in rural Australia (57%) are not convinced net zero by 2050 is enough action. This includes people in regional Queensland (54%).
It’s a similar picture nationwide with a majority of people saying they’re not convinced by the Morrison Government’s climate policies and 41% of people saying net zero by 2050 is ‘too little, too late’.
Six-out-of-10 Australians support action to cut climate pollution by at least half by 2030, in line with what leading climate scientists is needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.
A handful of politicians in the Morrison government, right-wing thinktanks like the IPA and heavy-polluting companies like Whitehaven Coal are leading a scare campaign claiming net zero by 2050 will damage regional Australia.
When it comes to jobs creation, new analysis released yesterday shows renewable energy is the real winner for regional communities that are reliant on dying coal-fired power.
Replacing the energy output of Australia’s biggest coal-fired power station, Eraring, which is scheduled to close early in 2025, with renewables would create thousands more construction jobs than replacing it with gas.
The analysis shows replacing Eraring’s 2880 megawatts of electricity with rooftop solar would create a whopping 63,562 jobs.
Research led by business, unions and environment groups shows Australia could create 395,000 new jobs and generate $89 billion in new trade by 2040 through investment in clean energy exports.
“Regional Australia has the most to gain when it comes to strong climate policy and the most to lose from inaction,” said ACF Climate and Energy Manager Gavan McFadzean.
“For Australia the future without climate action is clear – more frequent and severe droughts and firestorms, more severe floods and cyclones.
“The impacts of climate change are already being felt and the world is moving to rapidly cut emissions. Australia can’t put its head in the sand.
“We either get on board and seize the huge jobs and economic opportunities to decarbonise, or our economy will be left behind.
“Arguing about 2050 is irrelevant – we need big cuts to pollution this decade.
“Australians want politicians to stop fighting among themselves over climate policy and get on with action to tackle the problem.”