Australian net-zero deal: government plans to expand coal, gas use and exports

SYDNEY, Oct 26 2021 - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s pledge that net zero emissions will not lead to a decrease in the use or trade of coal and gas reveals that his government has no plans to change its role as a key blocker of global climate progress, Greenpeace Australia Pacific said.

Today the Australian Government announced a pledge of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to be presented at COP26 next week. 

However, Mr Morrison has defied the international community and rejected calls for a stronger 2030 emissions reduction target, and has vowed that Australia’s status as one of the world’s biggest exporters of climate-wrecking coal and gas will not change. 

“The world should not be fooled for one second. This is a political scam, not a serious plan. What we saw today from Morrison was effectively just another fig leaf for Australia to try and hustle the international community by getting away with doing nothing,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter.

“As we saw from last week’s leaked documents, Australia has a history of diplomatic obstruction in international climate talks and today’s announcement is just more of the same”

Mr Ritter said the Morrison Government’s do-nothing approach should be condemned by world leaders at the upcoming COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow. 

“Scott Morrison’s government has repackaged its current weak climate approach and slapped a “net-zero” sticker on it without making any substantive changes. Under the “plan” announced today climate damage will remain as Australia’s main export,” he said.

“The COP26 president, Boris Johnson and the UN have been unequivocal in the urgent need for strong climate action this decade. By ignoring their calls Scott Morrison has again proven that he is willing to roll the dice with our climate future. Morrison’s irresponsible approach should be condemned by world leaders at COP26.”

Scott Morrison’s plan, announced today in Canberra is scant on detail, forecasting that technology “yet to be developed” will reduce emissions by 40 percent while offsets will cover at least 10 to 20 percent of emissions by 2050.

“These projections are simply not credible,” Riter said.

“The tried and tested way to reduce emissions is to replace fossil fuels with clean energy sources like wind and solar backed up by batteries. Plans to pour billions of dollars into the modern-day alchemy of carbon capture and storage and other unproven technologies show that Scott Morrison is not serious about the climate crisis.

“Australia has a number of new coal and gas projects under consideration which are completely incompatible with decarbonising. This “net zero details” plan is built on the lie that you can expand the fossil fuel industry while reducing emissions. Instead of selling false hope to workers in transitioning industries Scott Morrison should come clean with the Australian people and start planning for the inevitable switch to clean energy and make Australia a part of the global solution.”



Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan

+61 424 295 422

[email protected]