CANBERRA, AAP – Labor will flag plans to take a more ambitious emissions reduction target to the federal election, describing net zero by 2050 as insufficient.
Opposition climate change spokesman Chris Bowen wants to see Australia take a higher medium-term target to UN climate talks in Glasgow in November.
“It should be informed by the climate science, and by the economics of what we need to do now to achieve net zero by 2050,” he will tell a Better Futures Forum on Thursday.
“While a commitment to net zero by 2050 is necessary, Labor understands it is not sufficient.
“If we want to achieve net zero in 2050, we can’t begin in 2049.”
Research indicates the world is on track to reach 1.5C of warming early next decade.
United States deputy climate envoy Jonathan Pershing says the UN’s latest climate report card calls for more aggressive targets than Australia has committed.
“It would be really helpful to see Australia step forward with a more ambitious effort,” he told the forum.
“If a country, a wealthy country like Australia is unable to move forward, it’s very hard for poor nations to think how they might do it.”
The coalition government is poised to update its 2030 emissions projections at Glasgow.
Australia is on track for a 29 per cent reduction in emissions on 2005 levels by by 2030, compared with its Paris accord commitment of a 26 to 28 per cent cut.
There is fierce resistance from some in the coalition, particularly within the Nationals, to signing up to net zero by 2050.
Meanwhile, the agriculture sector is pushing ahead with plans to reduce emissions, with the National Farmers Federation releasing a briefing about improving energy efficiency.
“Aussie farmers have seen their energy costs more than double in the last decade,” the federation’s chief executive Tony Mahar said.
“The great news is we’ve seen leading farms avoid a big chunk of those extra costs by getting smarter with how they use energy.”
The sector accounts for 15 per cent of Australia’s energy emissions. But this figure does not take into account fuel, electricity and gas use on farms.
The nation’s agricultural forecaster last month warned farm profits could take a 50 per cent hit over the next three decades in the absence of additional climate adaptation.