Australia, US centuries apart on net zero emissions goals

A photograph showing Scott Morrison on one side, and Joe Biden on the other.
12 November 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison raised emissions reduction technology in his first phone call with United States President-elect Joe Biden but the politically sensitive net-zero emissions deadline was not mentioned.

While a pledge for net-zero emissions by 2050 is a centrepiece of Mr Biden’s policy platform, Mr Morrison has instead chosen to fund new technology without committing to a target. Mr Biden has also committed to sign the US back up to the Paris Climate Agreement and eliminate carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 2035.

Mr Morrison said on Thursday he raised with Mr Biden the similarities between their focus on the "emissions reduction technologies that we needed to achieve", but the topic of a 2050 deadline for net zero emissions "was not addressed".

Based on Australia's official current rate of emissions reductions, researchers say it would take the nation more than 300 years to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Read the full article on The Sydney Morning Herald website, featuring commentary by Prof Mark Howden