Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended his government’s climate policies against a barrage of environment demands, stating that the only way to truly solve climate change is to tackle the world’s biggest polluters through a technological revolution.
In addressing a recent report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Morrison outlined that Australia’s “technology, not taxes” position was critical in addressing global emissions.
“The IPCC report affirms to me again my fundamental belief about how we must address this global challenge,” Morrison told reporters.
“But, we cannot ignore the fact that the developing world accounts for two-thirds of global emissions, and those emissions are rising,” Morrison said. “It is also a clear fact that China’s emissions account for more than the OECD combined.”
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) consists of 38 of the world’s most developed countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and most of Europe.
Research from earlier this year has shown that China alone emits more carbon dioxide in 16 days than Australia does in an entire year, with the country’s communist regime continuing to commission new coal-fired power stations unabatedly.
“Our emissions have fallen by 20 percent since 2005. We are the only country to our knowledge that engages in the transparency of reporting our emissions reductions, every sector, every gas, every quarter,” Morrison said.
But the prime minister made a point to emphasise that taxation was not the solution, as many of the world’s developed countries flourished on a foundation of fossil fuels.
“That is why our approach is technology, not taxes, to solving this problem. It’s not enough for the technology to work with a tax in an advanced economy,” Morrison said.
Taxing Australians doesn’t solve the problems that exist in India, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, or South Africa, Morrison noted.
“The emissions keep going up because of the choices that they will necessarily make. And, so, what’s important is that we ensure that the technology breakthroughs that are necessary to transform the world over the next 10, 20 and 30 years are realised,” he said.
In particular, the Australian government has committed $20 billion into research and development of low emission technologies through its Technology Investment Roadmap, including clean hydrogen, electricity storage, low emissions steel and aluminium production, carbon capture and storage, and soil carbon sequestration.
“These five priority technologies will either eliminate or substantially reduce emissions across sectors responsible for 90 percent of the world’s emissions,” Morrison said.
The government has also signed partnerships with Singapore, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan, part of its $568 million investment to research new technologies alongside nations worldwide.
Morrison’s comments come as environmental groups and activists are up in arms following IPCC’s report, which issued a dire warning that the world will face a climate catastrophe unless it immediately upped its emissions reduction efforts.
The Climate Council joined the ranks of other climate change communication organisations in rallying to end all fossil fuel use in Australia.
“The report finds that our decisions this decade will be the difference between a liveable future for today’s young people, and a future that is incompatible with well-functioning human societies,” said Climate Council spokesman and former IPCC report author, Will Steffen.
“The decisions we make now will resonate for centuries or millennia. The right choices will be measured in lives, livelihoods, species and ecosystems saved. The benefits of stronger action will be particularly important for our children and grandchildren.”
Climate activist group Extinction Rebellion instead opted to deface Parliament House, demanding the nation fast track its climate targets and reach net zero by 2025.
But Morrison outlined that Australia’s efforts towards addressing climate concerns would not be coerced by vandalism in the nation’s capital.
“I’ll tell you what the Australian way isn’t, the Australian way is not what we have seen with the vandalism in our capital today,” Morrison said.
“I don’t associate, in any way, shape or form, that foolishness with the good-hearted nature of Australians who care deeply about this issue, as I do and my Government does.”