Scott Morrison digs in as calls to release net zero modelling grow
Scott Morrison is under pressure to release the modelling that underpins his “practical way” of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
The Prime Minister has vowed he will be transparent with Australians about the cost of carbon neutrality but on Wednesday again refused to release the modelling used by the government to form their net zero plan.
In parliament on Wednesday, Mr Morrison fended off a barrage of questions about the decision to not release the modelling at the same time he committed to net zero.
“Will the Prime Minister now table the modelling for his so-called net zero plan?” Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese asked.
“The modelling will be released in the next few weeks, Mr Speaker. I’ve made that very clear,” Mr Morrison responded.
He then threw up a smokescreen, asking when Labor would release its own climate targets.
“I look forward … to the modelling being released when those opposite ever come up with a plan, Mr Speaker. They won’t even tell us what their 2030 target is before Glasgow,” Mr Morrison said before referring once again to his targets, not the modelling.
The deflection caused the intervention of Speaker Tony Smith, who called on Mr Morrison to answer relevant to the question.
“If you’re talking about the modelling, you need to make that clear,” Mr Smith said matter of factly.
Mr Morrison continued: “We’ve done the work to satisfy ourselves that we can reach net zero by 2050 and grow our economy and support rural and regional economies.
“That’s why we’re taking it forward. The Labor Party’s not confident about anything. They don’t even have a target …”
Mr Smith was again forced to intervene, as Mr Morrison was not asked to discuss “alternatives policies” proposed by Labor.
The question time sparring followed revelations the nation’s chief economic forecasters had provided limited advice for the modelling that underpins the Coalition’s net zero strategy.
Pressed by Labor senator Jenny McAllister, Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy declined to go into detail about the department’s forecasts.
“We provided some advice in particular around the risks the country faces around domestic and international investors in managing climate risk,” he told the Senate estimates hearing.
“What are the risks different companies might face – if Australia wasn‘t seen to be part of global consensus on climate change.”
Questioned over whether Treasury had done any modelling on the economic costs of a carbon neutral target or the impact of climate change on the economy, Dr Kennedy conceded not for some time.
“I don't know whether it is eight years – but we haven’t done it at least for the last few years,” he said.
Dr Kennedy said two Treasury staff had been seconded to assist the Department of Science, Industry, Energy and Resources in January and August with their modelling work.
Asked if Dr Kennedy could provide further details, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham stepped in, claiming cabinet confidentiality.
“The government has said it will release the modelling when it chooses – that’s its decision – that advice is incorporated into that modelling,” Dr Kennedy said.
Originally published as Scott Morrison digs in as calls to release net zero modelling grow
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