British PM pushes Scott Morrison on climate targets

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson emphasised the need for “bold action” to address climate change in a phone discussion with Scott Morrison overnight.

But a statement from Mr Morrison described the call differently, noting that Mr Johnson “welcomed” Australian emissions reduction initiatives and “strongly endorsed” the Australian approach.

The UK has a policy of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

A press release from 10 Downing Street following the call said Mr Johnson “stressed that we need bold action to address climate change, noting that the UK’s experience demonstrates that driving economic growth and reducing emissions can go hand-in-hand”.

The equivalent statement from the Australian Prime Minister’s office stated: “PM Johnson welcomed our significant increase in emissions reduction programs announced through the budget, and strongly endorsed our focus on unlocking practical pathways to reducing emissions,” it read.

“Both countries agreed to work closely together to accelerate research and deployment of low-emission technologies ahead of COP26.”

COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, will be held next year in Glasgow.

Budget spending

The 2020 federal budget promised $1.9 billion in funding over 12 years on new energy technologies.

The government characterises some investment in fossil fuel technology as reducing emissions, for example, upgrades to coal power station Delta Electricity’s Vales Point Power Station.

It is also spending $50 million on establishing the Commonwealth Carbon Capture Use and Storage Development Fund, which will research technologies that could store emissions underground.

Britain has begun phasing out coal power stations and fossil fuel-powered cars.

Mr Morrison was critical of electric cars in the lead-up to the 2019 election.

The Australian government has promised to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 but has not offered a longer-term target.


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