Opposition party to fight next Australia election on climate

Oct 26, 2021, 9:20 AM | Updated: 9:39 pm
Australia's shadow climate change minister Chris Bowen speaks to the media during a press conferenc...

Australia's shadow climate change minister Chris Bowen speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. Australia's opposition party said a looming election will be fought on greenhouse gas reduction targets as Prime Minister Scott Morrison comes under criticism from scientists over the modest goals he will take to a U.N. climate summit. (Lukas Coch/AAP Image via AP)

(Lukas Coch/AAP Image via AP)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s opposition party said on Wednesday a looming election will be fought on greenhouse gas reduction targets as Prime Minister Scott Morrison comes under criticism from scientists over the modest goals he will take to a U.N. climate summit.

Morrison has been left no room to move on Australia’s 2030 reduction target under a deal struck this week with his conservative government’s rural-based junior coalition partner, the Nationals party.

The Nationals have agreed to support the ruling Liberal Party’s target of net zero emissions by 2050 in return for Australia sticking to its 6-year-old target of reducing emissions by only 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by the end of the decade.

The Nationals, once a farmers’ party that has increasingly become an advocate for fossil fuel industries, has exerted its influence on Morrison as U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres lamented that a “leadership gap” was undermining the world’s efforts to curb global warming.

The center-left opposition Labor Party’s spokesman on climate change and energy, Chris Bowen, said competing climate policies would become a battle line at the next election, which is due by May.

“There will be a contest on climate at the next election,” Bowen told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“Scott Morrison has sort of for weeks said we might try and get bipartisanship. Clearly, he doesn’t have any policy which is going to attract bipartisanship,” Bowen added.

Morrison said the next election would provide “a clear choice on who do people trust with the right economic plan” to achieve net zero.

Morrison said he will take to the summit known as COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, projections that Australia will reduce its emissions by 35% by 2030, exceeding his government’s modest targets.

Climate scientists point out that this reduction would be achieved almost entirely by Australian state and territory governments that have committed to their own net zero targets.

Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of coal and liquified natural gas. Those exports would continue under a plan outlined by Morrison that would protect jobs and achieve net zero through technology without making polluters pay.

Lesley Hughes, an Australian academic and former lead author of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment reports in 2007 and 2015, described Australia’s 2030 ambitions as “one of the weakest targets in the developed world.”

“Frankly, if this wasn’t such a serious matter for all life on earth, I would say it’s a joke,” Hughes said, referring to Morrison’s net zero plan.

“The government’s had eight years to come up with a plan, yet nothing in the plan indicates a serious move to transition away from the fossil fuels that got us into this problem in the first place,” she added.

Since the conservative coalition was first elected in 2013, the government’s policies had been to delay action on climate change, she said.

Morrison was a Cabinet minister in 2014 when a newly elected government repealed Australia’s 2-year-old carbon tax. Government climate policies since have rejected any measures that would make polluters pay for their emissions.

Morrison’s government was narrowly reelected in 2019 with strong voter support from coal-rich Queensland state.

Morrison had gone to the election with the 2030 reduction target it had adopted in 2015 at the Paris climate summit. Labor had promised a 45% target, which the government argued would wreck the economy.

The government also rejected Labor’s longer-term target which is now bilaterally endorsed: net zero by 2050.

The Australian Election Study, which has surveyed voters after every election since 1987, found voter concern about the environment was at its greatest during the 2019 poll.

Labor wants to see what decisions are made in Glasgow before announcing its new 2030 targets.

The government has yet to release the modeling upon which its net zero plan is based.

Ian McAllister, an Australian National University political scientist who co-authored the Australian Election Study report on the last election, said the environment was gaining importance as an election issue.

“Bowen is probably right in the sense that there is a pent-up demand for action on climate change,” McAllister said.

“The coalition has always had a consistent advantage on economic management over Labor. So if the issue is cast as one of how do we economically manage this transition to sustainable resources, then the coalition is going to get an advantage,” he said.

“If it is seen to be principally non-economic, then I would have thought Labor’s in with a good chance of winning that issue,” he added.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, sp...
Associated Press

Fauci says early reports encouraging about omicron variant

U.S. health officials said Sunday that while the omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading throughout the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that scientists need […]
1 day ago
FILE - Euro coins and banknotes are pictured in a shop in Duisburg, Germany, Saturday, Dec. 29, 200...
Associated Press

ECB plans to redesign euro bills, decision expected in 2024

BERLIN (AP) — The European Central Bank said Monday that it plans to redesign its euro banknotes, with a final decision on the new look expected in 2024. The euro was introduced in cash form in 2002, with banknotes based on what the Frankfurt-based central bank for the 19-nation euro area calls an “ages and […]
1 day ago
Pope Francis arrives for a meeting with young people at the Saint Dionysius School of the Ursuline ...
Associated Press

Leaving Greece, pope asks youth to resist tempting ‘sirens’

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Pope Francis wrapped up his visit to Greece on Monday by encouraging its young people to follow their dreams and not be tempted by the consumerist “sirens” of today that promise easy pleasures. Francis met with students at a Catholic school in Athens in his final event of a five-day visit […]
1 day ago
FILE- Adults wait for children receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 in Kathmandu, Nep...
Associated Press

Nepal reports first cases of omicron variant

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepalese authorities on Monday reported the first cases of the omicron variant in the Himalayan nation. A Health Ministry statement said a 66-year-old foreign national who arrived by air on Nov. 19 tested positive for the variant along with another 71-year-old person who was in contact with the tourist. Both are […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Taiwan, Slovakia hold talks as island firms ties with Europe

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Senior officials from the Slovak Republic are in Taiwan for talks on deepening ties with the island in the highest-level visit by the EU-member country since it opened a representative office in Taiwan in 2003. The visit by the delegation, which began Sunday, follows a mission last month by members of […]
1 day ago
A man looks at an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 . Shar...
Associated Press

Asian shares slide after China Evergrande warns of cash woes

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were mostly lower in Asia on Monday after troubled Chinese property developer Evergrande warned late Friday it may run out of money. Investors also are struggling with uncertainty about the newest coronavirus variant and about when the Federal Reserve will cut off its support for markets. “This is a week that […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Opposition party to fight next Australia election on climate