Scott Morrison rejects net zero plan critics as David Attenborough takes aim

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended international criticism of his government's plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

prime minister

Sir David Attenborough (left) has called on Australia to do more when it comes to climate change. Source: Getty

Scott Morrison has hit back at critics of his 2050 net-zero plan, accusing them of not understanding Australia.

The prime minister on Wednesday defended his government's path to 2050 that relies 85 per cent on existing technology and 15 per cent on new breakthroughs.

Natural historian and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough blasted the plan for failing to increase 2030 emissions reduction targets. 


Sir David said there are still some in Australia and America that pretend the problem of climate change does not exist.

“There are still people in North America, there are still people in Australia who say ‘no, no, no, no, of course, it’s very unfortunate that there was that forest fire that absolutely demolished, incinerated that village, but it’s a one-off,’” he told the BBC.

“Particularly if it’s going to cost money in the short term, the temptation is to deny the problem and pretend it’s not there,” he added.

“But every month that passes, it becomes more and more incontrovertible, the changes to the planet that we are responsible for that are having these devastating effects.”

 David Attenborough in Iceland.
Sir David Attenborough in Iceland Source: BBC America

Sir David said rich nations have a “moral responsibility” to help the world’s poorest countries and that if we don't act now, "it'll be too late." 

"Whole parts of Africa are likely to be unliveable - people will simply have to move away because of the advancing deserts and increasing heat, and where will they go? Well, a lot of them will try to get into Europe.

"Do we say, 'Oh, it's nothing to do with us' and cross our arms?"

In an article published by the BBC on Tuesday night, Australia was accused of 'dragging its heels' on climate action.

that Australia, "a leading global coal and gas supplier", has not set ambitious targets for 2030 - an objective of next month's COP26 global climate summit.

Meanwhile, software billionaire and climate advocate Mike Cannon-Brookes slammed Mr Morrison's presentation as "just more bullsh*t".

The prime minister rejected the criticisms claiming they came from people who wanted to tax, regulate and shut industries down.

"Everyone else who doesn't understand Australia, our economy and the challenges we have here are entitled to their opinions," he told the Seven Network on Wednesday.

"But I will do what is right for Australia and we are getting results."

The government argues it has reduced carbon emissions by 20 per cent since 2005 and projects a cut of 30 to 35 per cent by the end of the decade.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has unveilled the government's plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Source: AAP

But it is not budging on its 2030 target of 26 to 28 per cent ahead of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, which the prime minister will attend next week.

"Australia's actions and results speak more than the words of others," Mr Morrison said.

"We're getting it done, Australians want it done but they don't want to throw their livelihoods away."

Mr Morrison defended pinning hopes on technologies that have not yet been developed.

"I'm sure people said that to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, but we didn't need a tax or a law to develop the iPhone or develop a COVID vaccine," he told 2GB radio.

Labor climate spokesman Chris Bowen said the next election would be a climate change contest, labelling the announcement a "steaming pile of nothingness".

The opposition is waiting to see what comes out of the Glasgow summit before finalising a climate policy it will take to voters.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor was grilled about why modelling underpinning key assumptions about the economic impact of a 2050 target was not released.

"The modelling will be released at an appropriate time," he told the ABC.

The government plan claims 100,000 jobs will be created in renewable energy alongside 62,000 roles in regional mining and heavy industry.

It also suggests people will be on average $2,000 better off and electricity prices won't rise.

There are outstanding questions about what the Nationals were promised in exchange for the junior coalition partner's lukewarm support for a 2050 net-zero goal.

While Resources Minister Keith Pitt has returned to the cabinet, it is unclear what other sweeteners were offered.

With AAP

4 min read
Published 27 October 2021 at 9:45am
By Eden Gillespie
Source: SBS News