Prime Minister Scott Morrison is working to secure the support of the Liberal Party’s rural partner, the Nationals, to support a net zero target by 2050 and possibly a more ambitious target for 2030 than Australia’s current commitment to reduce emissions between 26-28% from 2005 levels, before the UN climate conference in Glasgow.
However, the Business Council of Australia (which represents the country’s largest companies, including miners, gas and electricity producers) said over the weekend that emissions reductions of up to 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 with great benefits for the economy.
Speaking on Monday about a conference on energy and climate, Energy Minister Angus Taylor quickly rejected the council’s recommendation that the government strengthen its “safeguard mechanism” by requiring companies to issue more than 25 million tons annually to buy carbon offsets, compared to the current threshold of 100 million tons per year.
The safeguard mechanism and the carbon offset market set Australia’s carbon price, which last week reached a record high, but was still below one-third of the carbon price in the European Union. which has much stricter emission limits.
“A substantial tightening of the safeguard mechanism is that consumers will ultimately have to pay carbon taxes, and this is not acceptable,” Taylor said at a conference hosted by the Australian Financial Review.
Australia is the world’s fourth largest energy exporter, and Taylor said the government’s main goal was to protect key industries, including gas, coal, heavy manufacturing and agriculture, while promoting hydrogen, capture and storage of carbon and soil carbon to reduce emissions.
The government would adhere to providing incentives to reduce emissions instead of punishing pollutants, he said.
“That means avoiding explicit carbon taxes or ways out of a carbon tax: subtle carbon taxes.”
Taylor’s speech came on the same day that Australian billionaire Twiggy Forrest, a staunch critic of the government’s energy policies, announced that he would build the world’s largest electrolyser factory in Australia to further his ambition to produce green hydrogen. .