Too little too late

Scott Morrison may be about to commit to net zero – but it’s going to be too little too late.

Other countries and Australia’s States have already realised we need to move on to bigger targets even earlier. NSW and Queensland aim to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030. Victoria aims to reduce emissions by 45-50% by 2030

The UK is going to reduce carbon emissions by 78% by 2030 – and have enshrined the target in law – and called on Australia to double its 2030 target.

The EU countries have committed to 55% by 2030.

Morrison is promising 26-28% by 2030 but relying on junk carbon credits issued under the federal Coalition’s Emissions Reduction Fund that do not reduce emissions to get there.

Morrison spent about $310m of taxpayers’ money on more than 26m carbon credits generated through projects unlikely to have helped one little bit.

The reality is that Australia is a climate laggard not a leader – however Morrison managed to con Nancy Pelosi.

Scott Morrison boasts about our emissions reduction record but like many of his claims it is very dodgy.

Australia has the 12th highest per capita C02 emissions in the entire world.  We have the highest per capita emissions in the developed world.

In 2000 Australia emitted 10 billion tonnes of emissions. by 2019 we had emitted another 8 billion tonnes.

Emissions embedded in the fossil fuels we export also make Australia the world’s third largest emissions exporter.

That puts Australia at risk when other countries put carbon tariffs on our exports or just stop importing many of them.

Australia is also ignoring critically important carbon budget calculations.

Climate change and emissions are a bit like a household budget. If you stop wasting money and spend it wisely you end up better off. If you just keep splurging when you can’t afford it you end up in deep trouble.

That’s Australia’s situation with carbon emissions and why net zero emissions in 2050 is not enough.

Moreover, the carbon that gets emitted into the atmosphere doesn’t just disappear – it just keeps adding up – so we have to look not only at new emissions but also our total over the years and bring about real reductions to both.

Otherwise it’s like adding a bit more debt each year to a total debt that’s already too high.

Scott Morrison says we don’t have to worry about that because carbon capture will solve the problem. But carbon capture neither works nor does it make economic sense to spend billions in the hope that it will.

That will make our carbon and national debt even worse. And worse, in trying to make it work, we might even cause earthquakes.

But would even an earthquake wake up Scott Morrison to the need to take real action on the threat of climate change?