The National Party’s ruling out of a stronger 2030 emissions target flies in the face of the interests of the party’s rural support base and the opinion of the majority of their voters, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

Australia’s existing 2030 target for a 26–28% cut in emissions is out-of-date. A new Climate Analytics report, released by ACF at the weekend, shows Australia’s emissions are already on track to be 30–38% below 2005 levels by 2030 due to efforts of state and territory governments and a global shift away from coal and gas.  

The report showed it would be easy for Australia to reach 50–60% if the Federal Government prioritised the decarbonisation of the electricity, buildings and transport sectors.

This morning Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce posed the question: ‘what protections do we put in place for regional Australia?’ if the nation commits to net zero by 2050.

Here’s one answer: Australia could create 395,000 new jobs and generate $89 billion in new trade by 2040 through investment in clean energy exports.

Australia’s largest clean export opportunities are in renewable hydrogen and ammonia, green metals, critical minerals, battery manufacturing, education and training and engineering, ICT and consulting services.

These industries offer the opportunity to create tens of thousands of well-paid jobs, mostly in regional areas and accessible by workers across all levels of skill and education.

“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.

“Only a couple of months ago the world’s top climate scientists issued a stark warning – rapidly cut climate pollution or suffer the consequences.

“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.

“If you don’t have a strong 2030 target, you’re not serious about net zero by 2050.

“PM Morrison must take control of this debacle in the national interest and finalise a plan for Australia to reach NZE2050 and halve emissions in the next decade.”

Australia’s biggest ever climate change poll, released by ACF in August, found six-out-of-10 Australians support action to cut climate pollution by at least half by 2030.

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