Morrison government climate plan will fail if solely reliant on technology, thinktank reports | Australia news

The Morrison administration has been warned that if it relies solely on investment in new technology, its carbon neutral plan will fail by 2050.

The Grattan Institute’s Towards Net Zero report, released on Monday, suggested that the Australian government must pull many other policy levers to achieve net zero, including vehicle emissions standards, energy efficiency commitments, and rules on the use of carbon credits.

The report’s lead author, Tony Wood, suggested that the Morrison government’s net-zero plan, announced on Tuesday, failed to show how emissions reduction outside the electricity sector could be achieved.

Scott Morrison will take part in the Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow from Monday without reaching an increased emissions reduction target for 2030, despite international pressure from the UK, the EU, the US and the Pacific island states to significantly increase ambitions.

The Association of Non-Governmental Organizations of the Pacific Islands has urged “rich” nations to “move much faster to reduce global emissions by 2030” in order to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. You have warned that any further warming would “be devastating to our region and some of our countries in the Pacific would be under the ocean”.

It called for the industrialized nations to phase out fossil fuel production, what Australia refused to go to the G20, which led to Cop26.

The Grattan report noted that while Australia is on track to meet its emissions reduction target of 26-28% by 2030, more needs to be done today to meet the 2050 target.

It proposed expanding the Emission Reduction Fund (ERF) and restrictions on large emitters on the protection mechanism, investments in the power grid and rules on emission allowances to build a market for them.

According to Morrison’s government plan, $ 20 billion will be spent on technology investments over the next decade, including an additional $ 2 billion in emissions reductions bought through the ERF.

The Energy Secretary Angus Taylor did proposed similar investments would be needed by future governments in the coming decades, however, declined to state total costs.

However, the Grattan report warned that in the medium to longer term, “such government funding will not be sustainable and regulation should play a limited but valuable role”.

“More ambitious emissions reduction targets will likely be required.”

Wood told Guardian Australia that the Morrison government’s plan “will not get you net zero by 2050”.

“The assumption in Morrison’s mindset is that all you have to do is spend money on the technology and it will be cheap enough to be adopted. In some cases it is, but in many cases it is not. “

Wood named carbon capture and storage and the use of green hydrogen with renewable energies as processes that “cost more,” a “green premium” that would have to be paid through a direct or indirect carbon price, such as Australia’s current subsidies.

The Grattan report noted that electricity emissions are expected to decrease significantly over the next decade, but the next four largest sources of emissions in Australia will either grow or at best plateau.

Wood said with an estimated cost of $ 20 per ton to reduce emissions, “there is no known possibility” that the government could increase subsidies to 500 million tons per year to reach net zero, it was “incomprehensible” .

“The better way is to let industry do it because they’ll find cheaper ways to do it than the government … I don’t have a problem with the ERF, but like the technology plan, it’s not enough.”

The report argued that the first step should be to stop subsidizing developments that will increase future emissions, citing the Beetaloo Basin and the Carmichael Coal Mine as two sources that should not be supported by taxpayers’ money. In addition to investing in technology, the government must also actively discourage high-emission technologies and, if necessary, ban them.

Wood said supporting these projects was like “putting one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brake,” arguing that there was “no justification” for subsidizing a “simple commercial project” like gas development in the Beetaloo pool.

Sign up to receive the top stories from Guardian Australia every morning

The Grattan report called for the Climate Change Authority to be revitalized with a formal mandate to advise on emissions budgets and track progress towards net zero.

Ahead of the United Nations-led climate summit in Glasgow, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is hosting the meeting, urged heads of state and government to come with serious commitments.

On Saturday the British government’s climate adviser launched a devastating attack on Australia’s net zero commitment.

The Chairman of the Climate Change Committee, Lord Deben, said the BBC There is “no indication” that Morrison has a plan to fulfill the “squeezed out” commitment to net zero.

Australia’s net zero plan also has criticized by experts who warns that it is relying on “gross manipulation” of data to suggest that trees and soils can absorb much more carbon dioxide than is actually possible.