Thursday, 4 February 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, representing the Prime Minister. The independent Climate Targets Panel recently found that so much of our carbon budget has been spent. Australia would need to double our 2030 targets to at least a 50 per cent reduction by 2030 to do our fair share of limiting global warming to well below two degrees. Is the government still committed to limiting global warming to well below two degrees? And, if so, will you accept the Climate Targets Panel's findings and increase Australia's 2030 targets before President Biden's climate summit on 22 April?
I thank Senator Waters for her question. The government is indeed committed to the objectives of the Paris Agreement, to which we are a signatory, which include targets in relation to limits on global warming. We of course look forward to working cooperatively with other nations in relation to the work towards those targets, doing as Australia has done time and time again, which is to meet and exceed the commitments we have made. In relation to the Paris Agreement we have made 2030 commitments commensurate with that agreement, and all indications and analyses show that we are on track to once again meet and exceed those targets.
As senators may be aware, Prime Minister Morrison and President Biden spoke earlier today in a warm conversation, canvassing a number of different issues, including cooperation in relation to matters of climate change. Indeed, the government looks forward to receiving further details about the Biden administration's summit and to formulating our participation in that summit once we have received those further details.
So our position is certainly one of continuing to invest, as we have, in the technologies and pathways to achieve reductions. It's investment by Australian businesses, Australian households, Australian industry and Australian governments that have put Australia in the position that sees the uptake of renewable energy in this country, leading much of the rest of the world. It has delivered reductions in emissions ahead of the OECD averages over a period of time. Through continued investment, we will achieve the technological breakthroughs that will enable us to move beyond the types of successes being seen in relation to energy generation and into the other spheres of emissions that need to be tackled in order to achieve more-ambitious targets into the future. That's why we've made a $1.9 billion investment into future low-emissions technologies and why we look forward to working with partners like the United States in delivering on that package. (Time expired)
The government, indeed, has confidence in the Bureau of Meteorology, in the CSIRO, in our agencies who provide advice and information to government, and in the agencies whose analysis has demonstrated that not only has Australia met and exceeded the commitments we made under the second Kyoto commitment period but we're on track to meet and exceed the commitments we've made under the Paris Agreement. I realise that these are facts that are 'inconvenient truths' for the Australian Greens, if I can use that phrase, but the evidence is very clear that Australia has achieved what many other nations have not to date, and that is, within our country, through domestic action, be able to meet and exceed the commitments that we have made.
Honourable senators interjecting—
Does the Prime Minister accept the evidence given by the Bureau of Meteorology to a recent Senate estimates committee that, under current targets, Australia is on track for up to 4.4 degrees of warming by the end of this century?
I've learnt a lot of things in my time in this place, and one is to make sure that, when questions like that are framed, it's always best to go and check the full context in which such analysis might have been given and such questions may have been answered.
Clearly, it depends upon the types of assumptions that are being talked about. Obviously, in relation to climate science, as I said before, we follow the evidence in relation to the work of the bureau and other agencies in looking at projections of what outcomes may occur. A huge driving part of that relates not just to what Australia does but to what the rest of the world does in terms of their emissions profile as well. That's the driving reason behind our investment in technologies, because how you shift the whole world's emissions profile is how you actually tackle this issue, and you do it by achieving technological breakthroughs that ensure every country embraces lower emissions technology— (Time expired)