/ 11 June 2024

Powering up for a fight

power lines

The Squiz 

It wouldn’t be an Australian federal election without the major parties’ emissions reduction policies being front and centre – and so it will be again this time around… On Saturday, Coalition leader Peter Dutton said he would put an energy policy to voters that favours gas in the short term and nuclear power in the long term. And he confirmed he’ll walk away from Labor’s legislated target to cut emissions by 43% from 2005 levels by 2030. Yesterday, PM Anthony Albanese responded, saying “Peter Dutton is walking away from climate action. His decision to abandon the 2030 target means him walking away from the Paris Accord.” 

Umm can you explain that a bit… 

For sure – and let’s start at the top… The landmark Paris Climate Agreement came from a 2015 round of climate talks when the Coalition Government signed Australia up to international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the effects of global warming. Since then, nations have been asked to commit to specific emissions reduction targets in the short and long term. In 2021, then PM Scott Morrison signed us up to net zero emissions by 2050 but wouldn’t set a 2030 target – it was a whole thing at the time… Cue an Albanese win in 2022, and he signed us up to the 2030 target of cutting emissions by 43% – a target that’s been locked in with the United Nations (which oversees these global climate talks). The Labor Government is also a fan of the commitment to hit net zero emissions by 2050. 

So what’s happened in the last few days? 

Dutton says “there’s no sense in signing up to targets you don’t have any prospect of achieving”. Team Albanese says we’re on track for a 42% reduction by 2030, so we might just get there… If you’re wondering ‘does any of this matter’ – it does, for a couple of major reasons. There’s a discussion about whether pulling our short-term target would amount to ‘pulling out of Paris’. The Coalition says it doesn’t, and there needs to be an overhaul in how we power the nation – hence the focus on gas and nuclear. But Labor says it would, and that would leave us “standing with Libya, Yemen and Iran,” Albanese says. There’s also a point about ‘economic certainty’ – that refers to businesses needing clear goalposts because they’re the ones who are investing/changing to reduce their emissions in line with the targets. So yes, it’s a case of déjà vu all over again…

Know someone who'd be interested in this story? Click to share...

The Squiz Today

Your shortcut to being informed, we've got your news needs covered.

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

Quick, agenda-free news that doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.