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Govt set for tech investment over net zero emissions

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The Morrison government is set to adopt a technology investment target instead of signing up to a global agreement to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

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Australia is expected to argue technology is the best way to meet a net zero goal that countries signed up to in the 2015 Paris agreement, at an international summit in November, The Australian reported on Tuesday.

Moderate Liberal MPs have been pushing for a net zero emissions target, while conservative forces within the coalition are fiercely opposed to the idea.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison signalled he wouldn’t bow to international pressure for Australia to set more ambitious climate change targets.

“I tend not to take lectures from other countries about what Australia’s doing because we’re the ones who are actually meeting and beating our targets,” he told Triple M radio on Tuesday.

“Others will make their comments – and they’re wrong. We’re getting on with the job.”

The prime minister said he wouldn’t put in place any measures which raised taxes, put up power prices or cost regional jobs.

“We’re going to have a sensible, balanced policy that acknowledges the need to take action on climate change and meet the targets we set,” he said.

On Monday, Morrison said he wouldn’t sign up to any target without being able to tell Australians the cost.

The prime minister also pointed to New Zealand, which has signed up to the 2050 target, exempting agriculture despite the sector being the country’s biggest contributor to emissions.

Meanwhile, Labor is also debating its approach to climate change and resources, with some MPs warning the party against hostility towards coal.

WA frontbencher Matt Keogh said his state had a resource-based economy.

“When people appear to be against one area of the resources sector, WA gets worried,” he told The Australian.

“Labor is a party that supports the resources industry and its workers across the nation, as well as supporting action to reduce emissions. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.”

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