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  • John McDonnell

The major parties converge on a consensus on climate change

The government and the opposition are converging on a consensus on climate change.

In a speech delivered on Tuesday, Anthony Albanese admitted that coal mining will continue in Australia in the future, while on Monday night Scott Morrison called on business to lead the way to zero emissions by 2050.

In his speech, Mr Albanese made a pitch for green jobs that will dominate the employment landscape in the future. Speaking to a Labor organised Clean Energy and Jobs summit, which sought to engage directly with unions, industry and business communities, Labor leader Anthony Albanese pitched an economy-wide ‘jobs revolution’ that could be achieved through increased investments in clean energy and lower emissions technologies. He said:

“It is time to look at the other side of the coin – the huge potential for clean energy to create hundreds of thousands of secure, well-paid jobs right across this country.
“I am not just talking about jobs for scientists or engineers developing new clean energy technologies. I’m not just talking about jobs for people mining lithium, copper and nickel or those who will transform those materials into batteries.
“I’m talking about a revolution in jobs growth right across the Australian economy based on one inescapable fact – renewable energy is not only clean, but cheap. And getting cheaper."

Mr Albanese told the summit that a future Labor government would use a $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, an idea recently floated by the opposition leader, to fund an expansion of Australia’s manufacturing and export industries into the supply of materials for clean energy products.

“Our ambition is nothing less than a revival of manufacturing built off the back of the availability of clean, cheap electricity.
“As a simple example, our nation already produces and exports lithium, copper and nickel, which are critical commodities for the development of battery storage and electric vehicles.”

Mr Morrison told the Business Council of Australia on Monday night that business would be protected n the move to zero emissions “probably by 2050”. In a controversial statement, he said that the path to zero emissions would not be determined in the “cafes, wine bars and dinner parties of the inner cities”.

Just days away from a global climate summit where Australia will join other major emitters, Scott Morrison has pledged to protect industry on the road to net zero, "preferably by 2050".

But the prime minister has admitted Australia's energy mix will have to change over the next 30 years to achieve net zero carbon emissions.

In his speech to business leaders in Sydney, he declared the nation would chart its "own course" and achieve its aims through "the best technology and the animal spirits of capitalism", not "taxes", like a carbon price.

Mr Morrison said that net zero will be "won" by the energy, industrial, agriculture, mining and manufacturing sectors, pointing to work BHP, Andrew Forrest and AGL are doing to reduce emissions as examples:

"In the factories of our regional towns and outer suburbs. In the labs of our best research institutes and scientists.
"This is where the road to net zero is being paved in Australia."


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