ANALYSIS

Scott Morrison's plan for net zero makes less sense the deeper you look

Left with just days before the Prime Minister flies out of the country for the COP26 UN Climate Change conference in Glasgow, Australians expected a commitment to net zero by 2050 and a plan of how to get there.

What Australia heard from Scott Morrison on Tuesday, after almost a decade of denying and delaying, left more questions than answers as to whether the commitment was anything but words.

The plan was revealed, just five paragraphs into the threadbare presentation, to be sitting on the most unstable of foundations.

The net zero plan comes with just five parts of any substance - the rest being motherhood statements of values and a show of accountability. The first 20 per cent comes from reductions that were made by policy decisions of previous governments.

Another 40 per cent comes from the Technology Investment Roadmap - a Hail Mary prayer that a collection of technologies, unproven in the best cases and proven failures in several others, will turn it all around.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed the governments net zero emissions plan on Tuesday. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed the governments net zero emissions plan on Tuesday. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Global trends, over which the government has no control, and in which several Nationals frontbenchers are actively denying, are counted on contributing up to 15 per cent of reductions.

A category described as "further technology breakthroughs", of which there is no modelling that the government could produce that would stand up to any scrutiny, is counted on to contribute another 15 per cent of reductions.

International and domestic offsets, where government policy settings and regional deals could make the most impact, has been given a range from 10 to 20 per cent of needed reductions. But details were less than scant, more nonexistent.

Pulled together it is difficult to understand how as-yet-unseen modelling, drawn from government and consultants at McKensey, could substantiate reaching a net-zero emissions reduction target.

IN OTHER NEWS:

The plan opens the door to further nuclear energy and technologies to be deployed in Australia, albeit directed primarily at the export market.

But other technologies in the plan are far from carbon-neutral or have not delivered despite significant investment, like carbon capture and storage.

Experienced policymakers and technology procurement experts will look at the government's plan and recognise it as an invitation for every vendor of failed technologies to pitch their snake oil to a mark with billions of taxpayers' funds to spend.

"Technology not taxes" is no more true of this plan than of previous budgets, with taxpayers footing whatever unannounced programs that were needed to get the Nationals' support.

That won't interest Mr Morrison's international audience at Glasgow, who will want to see the detail Australians were denied.

This story A net zero plan that makes less sense the deeper you look first appeared on The Canberra Times.

Comments

Discuss "A net zero plan that makes less sense the deeper you look"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.