CANBERRA, AAP – Former chief scientist Alan Finkel has been spruiking Australia’s emissions reduction plans to key partner nations like the United Kingdom and the United States.
Dr Finkel finished his five-year stint as chief scientist last year and has stayed in the public service at a time when Australia’s emissions reduction goals are under increasing international pressure.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison appointed Dr Finkel in the role to spearhead Australia’s global efforts in December.
Since then, the expert scientist has targeted nations Australia is trying to partner with on low emissions technologies, such as the UK and the US.
Both of those nations have both pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
The change in power in the United States from Donald Trump to Joe Biden has led to a huge shift in its climate policies, resulting in more pressure on Australia.
President Biden has committed the US to net zero by 2050 and has enlisted John Kerry as climate envoy.
His sights are already on Australia, ahead of a climate summit in the US this April.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor has praised Dr Finkel, saying he has unique technical expertise and strong business connections for his internationally focused role.
“Dr Finkel has already commenced engagement with potential international partners on increasing investment in shared research and development, including Australian-based pilot projects,” he said on Friday.
“Accelerating new and emerging technologies to technical and commercial parity with existing approaches will unlock widespread global deployment.
“This is the only way to enable all countries – both developed and developing – to reduce emissions while increasing prosperity and creating jobs.”
Unlike all states and territories, the federal government has not committed to net zero emissions by 2050.
It is currently focused on its targets under the Paris Agreement, which is a 26 to 28 per cent reduction on 2005 emissions by 2030.
Climate experts have long called for countries to be more ambitious in their targets to prevent further damage to the environment.
Mr Taylor’s technology-based emissions reduction plan involves $18 billion of federal investment over the next 10 years, which he expects to leverage $70 billion of private sector and state investment by 2030.
Officials have not given a clear projection on how the road map will reduce Australia’s emissions.