House debates

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Questions without Notice

Climate Change

2:43 pm

Photo of Julian LeeserJulian Leeser (Berowra, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction. Can the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government's plan to reduce emissions is focused on technology and how this approach is already working? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches?

Photo of Angus TaylorAngus Taylor (Hume, Liberal Party, Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for his question. He has seen throughout his career the power of technology to solve hard problems, and he knows that central to our plan to get to net zero by 2050 is a technology-led approach—technologies like hydrogen, ultralow-cost solar, carbon capture and storage, regenerating our soils, low-emissions steel and aluminium, and low-cost energy storage capacity. All of these are central to the plan, and our approach is already working, with emissions down 20.8 per cent at the same time as we've seen a 45 per cent increase in our economy and an increase of more than 200 per cent in our goods exports. We will meet and beat our 2030 target. We've reduced emissions faster than every other major commodity-exporting country in the world.

We've seen how solar can bring down emissions in recent years. Ninety per cent of the world's solar has been installed in the last ten years. That's because of 50 years of cost reductions averaging 12 per cent a year. We're on our way to ultra-low-cost solar. At that rate, by the 2030s, we will reach a point where solar will be at $15 a megawatt hour. And 90 per cent of those PV cells around the world have Australian intellectual property embedded in them. That is the approach we're taking in our plan.

There is an alternative. It is a carbon tax. But there's another part to that alternative, which is legislating a net zero target: a blank cheque. A number of other countries have done this, including the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom, activists have launched illegal action against a 27 billion pound program to upgrade roads and fill potholes. Those taking action say that hitting carbon tax targets requires making driving less attractive too. They go on. The Transport Action Network, which is dragging the UK government through the courts, has a strategy for thousands of miles of speed cameras, not 50 major road schemes.

It's not just happening in the UK. Germany has legislated a net zero target, and in Germany the Constitutional Court is forcing the government to make deeper and harsher cuts. In France, the top administrative court, where they have a legislated net zero target, is threatening to fine the French government if they don't take all necessary actions. Those opposite want to hand the power of bringing down emissions to the courts. (Time expired)

2:46 pm

Photo of Richard MarlesRichard Marles (Corio, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister: Did the Prime Minister tell the Deputy Prime Minister the modelling was still being written up when the Deputy Prime Minister signed up to net zero?

Photo of Barnaby JoyceBarnaby Joyce (New England, National Party, Leader of the Nationals) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the honourable member for his question. The Prime Minister's just handed me the actual quote, which I think is very important. The part they've left out is that the actual modelling had, of course, been finalised at that point. But with the write-up of it we just need to take a little extra time to ensure that it's written up clearly and is able to be presented well to the Australian public. So when you read it in its entirety it's entirely different to the proposition that the opposition are putting forward to this House. And it goes to show you how sneaky, at times, they can be—very, very sneaky. Because they are sneaky, they'll probably be very sneaky with the legislation that they intend to bring forward. The sneaky legislation they intend to bring forward will legislate, unless they can tell us otherwise, people out of a job. It would legislate the coalminers in Muswellbrook out of a job, legislate the coalminers in Singleton out of a job—

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The Deputy Prime Minister is straying from the question.

Photo of Barnaby JoyceBarnaby Joyce (New England, National Party, Leader of the Nationals) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Speaker, I've now been informed—and it seems completely logical—of the entirety of the quote, and the entirety of the quote completely dispenses with the premise of the question.