Modeling the Morrison government’s strategy to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 shows that its “technology no tax” plan will leave the nation to rely on offsets and unknown technology breakthroughs, but let the gas sector grow. .
Released on Friday afternoon, the modeling report suggests the “net zero” plan will see the value of the coal industry halve by 2050.
The 100-page report reveals a number of assumptions made in the modeling to lend credibility to the plan, which has left some analysts perplexed.
Under the slogan “The Australian Way”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison published the long-term emission reduction strategy last month, after confirming that the government would adopt a net zero target by 2050.
That plan did not include new policies and instead relied on voluntary action and government support for technology to reduce emissions.
But the modeling report shows that the government’s technology plan is 215 million tons smaller to achieve only 85% reduction by 2050. Australia’s current annual emissions are 494.2 million tons.
The remaining cuts are made by buying offsets and by “further technological breakthroughs” that are not explained.
Left out of modeling, the report says, is any assessment of the impacts of the climate crisis “or the benefits of avoided climate damage associated with differences in global emissions trajectories.”
The report compares the effect of the government’s plan to a scenario in which all countries, “except Australia, reduce their emissions to achieve a global emissions trajectory of less than 2 ° C.”
In a section examining the impact of the government’s plan on the value of different sectors, the report says that by 2050 the gas industry will be 13% higher than in 2020, but the coal sector would see a 51% cut. %.
Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said: “The modeling shows that a clear focus on reducing the cost of technology will enable Australia to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 without putting industries, regions or jobs at risk. work”.
He said the government has charted a “credible path” to zero the grid by 2050 “by preserving our existing industries, establishing Australia as a leader in low-carbon technologies and positioning our regions to thrive.”
Tim Baxter, senior researcher at the Climate Council, said the report “may as well have been written with crayons.”
He said: “The most surprising thing about this model is that it predicts that the government will not reach its zero target by 2050.
“This is pure spin. A document that has the singular purpose of attempting to legitimize the federal government’s approach of not doing “.
Tony Wood, program director for energy and climate change at the Grattan Institute, said: “My concern is not that technology can reduce emissions, but it is the very strange way it is done.”
According to the report, the results of the government’s technology plan are modeled by assuming a carbon price of $ 24 per tonne.
Wood said, “It looks extraordinarily low, recalling that the carbon price in effect between 2012 and 2014 never exceeded $ 22 per ton, yet Tony Abbott wanted to get rid of it. But now we assume that people will pay it voluntarily?
“To suggest that there are all these technological advances within the plan, but magically there are none without it, it makes no sense to me.”
Shadow Minister for Climate Change Chris Bowen said: “Labor will take the time it takes to consider this detail, as a responsible alternative government should do.”
Bowen described the long-term emission reduction strategy as a “net zero scamphlet”.
“The fact that they chose to do it in the late afternoon of Friday, without the possibility of questions from the journalists, is not a good omen”.
Green leader Adam Bandt said the modeling showed that the government had a plan for “not zero”.
He said: “This is a piece of fiction that tries to cover up inaction. Scott Morrison’s climate ambition is so low that it does not even reach net zero in his net zero “plan”.
“This is a recipe for climate collapse in Australia, with more extreme droughts, floods and fires.”