Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says Australia needs to be part of international commitments for greenhouse gas emissions to be cut to net zero by 2050.
The treasurer delivered the comments to an Australian Industry Group forum on Friday where he warned the nation could be left behind by shifts in the global economy to address climate change.
Speaking to media ahead of the speech, Frydenberg said the government hadn’t taken any formal decisions yet to commit to net zero by 2050 but discussions were progressing.
“We are making progress on the internal discussions,” he on Friday morning.
“I am being very clear that Australia needs to be part of these international agreements, and we can’t allow a false assumption or a false conclusion to be drawn by international investors about what Australia is doing.”
The government currently has targets to cut emissions by 26 and 28 per cent by 2030 and is tipped to unveil an updated policy ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November.
Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce said this week his party would look at the issue but continued to express caution over getting Australia’s energy mix wrong.
Prime minister Scott Morrison, speaking from Washington DC, acknowledged the government would be further considering its plan when he returned to Australia.
“‘I’ve already said at the start of this that it’s Australia’s ambition to move towards and to achieve net zero as soon as possible, and preferably by 2050,” Morrison said. “That’s been my consistent statement since the beginning of this year.”
Frydenberg’s speech was set to acknowledge financial markets were factoring in climate change and those shifts would adversely impact Australia’s economy, which is heavily reliant on foreign investment, unless its goals moved.
“I want to make sure that Australia on the one hand is not disadvantaged by this structural shift in financial markets and on the other hand can take advantage of it by getting new investments in renewable energy and other sustainable industries,” Frydenberg told the ABC.