Former Liberal staffer Peta Credlin has turned on her old party over Scott Morrison’s net zero emissions pledge.
The Prime Minister on Tuesday announced Australia would adopt a net zero by 2050 target to help the world combat global warming, just days before key climate talks in the UK.
The move brought the Government’s climate policy into line with Labor’s and angered Credlin who has relentlessly spoken out against the target, fearing it will make the country poorer.
Credlin believes nuclear power should be used to generate electricity in Australia to drive emissions down but Mr Morrison has ruled it out because the Labor Party won’t support it.
‘They are so similar. Other than Tony Abbott stopping the boats back in 2013, what is the difference between these two parties,’ she said in a savage put-down on Sky News Australia this week.
Credlin accused Mr Morrison – who in 2019 campaigned against Labor’s ‘reckless’ climate policies – of caving in to ‘woke businesses and left-wing Liberals in wealthy inner city seats’.
‘When people go to the ballot box they thought they were voting for a conservative party last time round they will look very, very carefully this time round,’ she said.
‘I think we’re going to see a lot of movement of that underlying conservative Liberal vote and conservative National Party vote into minor parties on the right.
‘I think that’s diabolical for a prime minister that’s already starting from behind,’ she said in reference to the latest Newspoll survey which shows Labor leading the Coalition by 54 to 46 per cent in the two party preferred vote.
Credlin has relentlessly spoken out against the target, fearing it will make the country poorer. Pictured: Coal-miners
Credlin, who was former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Chief Of Staff when he won a landslide election after vowing to repeal Labor’s so-called ‘carbon tax’, said she was ‘at war’ with her old party.
‘I think this is a death knell on the Government… on this issue alone I have a war with my former party on this,’ she said.
Opponents of the net-zero target believe it will cost jobs in traditional high-polluting industries such as coal mining and fear it will see electricity prices rise.
A chorus of international and domestic critics including David Attenborough blasted the plan for lacking detail and failing to increase 2030 emissions reduction targets.
However, Mr Morrison rejected the barrage of disapproval, saying it came from people who wanted to tax, regulate and shut industries down.
Mr Morrison says his plan to achieve it using technologies such as solar power and clear hydrogen will create jobs, keep energy prices low and leave Aussies $2,000 better off compared with taking no climate action.
Credlin (pictured in March) believes nuclear power should be used to generate electricity in Australia to drive emissions down but Mr Morrison has ruled it out
Credlin also savaged the Morrison Government in an opinion piece in The Australian newspaper where she criticised his deal to acquire nuclear powered submarines from the US and the UK even though the boats may not be ready until 2040.
‘Having policies for 2050 and 2040, but not for next year, is hardly a good position to be in eight months out from an election, with a wafer-thin majority, an unfavourable redistribution, behind in the polls, and seeking a fourth term,’ she wrote.
In the article titled ‘How did Morrison let his government flounder like this?’ Credlin slammed the Prime Minister for failing to pass laws to cement religious freedom and set up a promised federal anti-corruption body.
She also blasted what she called his ‘refusal to call out the repeated failure of premiers to adhere to national cabinet decisions’ on managing coronavirus.
Scott Morrison (pictured on Tuesday) has announced a commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050
When he announced his net zero plan this week, Mr Morrison said Australia can reach net zero emissions by relying on technology such as solar power and green hydrogen and without introducing any taxes – but he did not announce any new initiatives or funding.
By 2050, Australia’s electricity generation will cause up to 97 per cent fewer emissions than in 2005, using renewables but with a small amount of gas-fired power remaining.
Nuclear power is off the table but Mr Morrison did not rule out building more coal-fired power stations in a move that will disappoint allies such as the UK who want to phase out coal around the world.
Australia will get 85 per cent of the way to net zero with existing technologies and offsets while the other 15 per cent will be achieved with ‘further breakthrough technologies’ that don’t exist yet.
International and domestic offsets will account for 10 to 20 per cent of the emissions reduction. This may include paying farmers at home or overseas to plant more trees.
This chart shows how Australia will reach net zero emissions. Forty per cent of the reduction comes from existing Australian technology, 15 per cent from global technology, 10 to 20 per cent from offsets and 15 per cent from technology that doesn’t exist yet
This chart shows the emissions reduction expected in each sector of the economy. By 2050, Australia’s electricity generation will cause up to 97 per cent fewer emissions than 2005, transport will pollute up to 71 per cent less, industry will pollute up to 45 per cent less and agriculture will pollute up to 36 per cent less
How will Australia get to net zero by 2050?
Clean hydrogen: Can be used to heat buildings, power factories and even run cars with no emissions
Ultra low-cost solar: Solar electricity generation at $15 per MWh
Electricity storage: Huge lithium-ion batteries can store energy generated by solar and wind power so it can be released at peak times
Low carbon materials: Steel and aluminium made by burning hydrogen instead of coal to reduce carbon emissions
Carbon capture: The process of capturing carbon dioxide from factories and power stations and storing it underground
Soil carbon: Growing more plants and trees to return carbon from the air to the soil
Source: Australian Government
Mr Morrison said the plan will create 62,000 regional mining and heavy industry jobs and leave Aussies $2,000 better off in 2050 compared to taking no climate action.
The Prime Minister also said the plan won’t raise electricity costs or put regional jobs at risk.
‘Australians want action on climate change. They’re taking action on climate change but they also want to protect their jobs and their livelihoods,’ he said.
‘They also want to keep the costs of living down.
‘And I also want to protect the Australian way of life, especially in rural and regional areas. The Australian way of life is unique,’ he said.
‘It will not impact households businesses or the broader economy with new costs or taxes imposed by the initiatives that we are undertaking.
‘It will not cost jobs, not in farming, mining or gas. Because what we’re doing in these plans is positive things, enabling things.’
Greens leader Adam Bandt, who wants to prohibit coal and to reach net zero by 2035, said Mr Morrison’s plan was a ‘con’.
‘Net zero by 2050 is a death sentence. Morrison’s plan is dangerous and will cost our kids their future,’ he said.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the Prime Minister’s announcement was ‘all marketing’ with no detail or new funding.
‘The Prime Minister announced a vibe today rather than a target,’ he said, criticising the Government for not legislating the net zero goal.
‘This Government has been there for almost nine years. And literally, two days before the Prime Minister jets off to Glasgow for the most important international conference on climate change this century, he has come up with this non-policy which has no new initiatives, he said.
Mr Albanese said he would release his climate policy in detail after the Glasgow conference.
The Prime Minister said Australia was showing global leadership by ‘focusing on the how’ in a dig at other countries who have signed up to net zero without a clear plan.
‘There’s no blank cheques here,’ he said.
‘I am looking forward to discussing this with others overseas because I think the Australian way shows a way for other countries to follow,’ Mr Morrison added.
‘You know the challenges that we face here in Australia, particularly with the nature of our economy, are not that dissimilar to those being faced in Indonesia or in Vietnam or in India or places like that or indeed China.’
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the Prime Minister’s announcement was ‘all marketing’ with no detail or new funding
China is responsible for 30 per cent of global emissions while Australia accounts for just one per cent but is the second worst polluter per person after Canada.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor said Australia’s emissions are predicted to drop 30 to 35 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Although this is not an updated target, it is well ahead of the Government’s current target of a 26 to 28 per cent reduction.
The improved figures are a result of states and territories taking climate change action.
Scientists say limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C by 2050 requires cutting emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 and net zero by 2050.
The plan to get to net zero is based on ‘existing policies’ which are detailed above