Asian net zero wave leaves Australia’s Scott Morrison isolated

(Climate Home News, 30 Oct 2020) Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has become isolated in his defence of coal and refusal to step up climate ambition, as key Asian trading partners change course.

This week alone, Japan and South Korea committed to cut emissions to net zero by 2050 and the Philippines declared a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants. Last month, China promised to aim for carbon neutrality by 2060. A flurry of Asian investors have said they would no longer finance coal projects. It signals a shift away from coal in three of Australia’s four biggest export markets.

At home, every Australian state and territory has set a 2050 net zero target and public opinion is swinging in favour of a national target to match.

Polling by the Australian Institute released on Tuesday found 68% of Australians believe the federal government should set a net zero emissions target by 2050. Among Morrison’s base, 59% of respondents identifying as centre-right politically supported the goal.

On 9 November – the day the Cop26 climate talks were initially scheduled to start – independent lawmaker Zali Steggall is expected to table a Climate Change Bill, forcing a parliamentary discussion of carbon neutrality.

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Climate Home News, 30 Oct 2020: Asian net zero wave leaves Australia’s Scott Morrison isolated