The deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, says the Nationals want to see how much a 2050 net zero carbon emissions commitment would cost, likening the policy decision to ordering an uncosted meal in a restaurant.

Joyce, who told the Australian Financial Review there was “zero” chance of the party room supporting the net zero commitment ahead of the Glasgow climate summit in November, said he was still open to considering the move, but needed more information.

“Generally how restaurants work is you go in and have a menu and they have what’s on the menu for lunch and what the price is,” Joyce told the ABC’s Insiders program.

“That is how a competent decision is made and that’s what we’re looking for. What’s on the menu and what the price is.

“Until you lay down a plan, and show us the costs, you haven’t arrived at a point of consideration. Now, show us the plan, show us the cost and we’re happy to consider it and the National party room will do that.”

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, has been edging towards a net zero commitment ahead of Glasgow, saying it is the government’s “preference”.

In late April, Morrison used a speech to the Business Council of Australia to begin to frame the inevitable transition to a low-emissions economy as a boost for the regions, but the move has split the Nationals.

While former leader Michael McCormack has indicated a willingness to adopt the target – which is also backed by the National Farmers’ Federation – Joyce said he was unconvinced and people were seeking an “open cheque”.

He said Labor was signing the country up to the policy but “don’t care what is the price”.

Sign up to receive an email with the top stories from Guardian Australia every morning

“What turns up is sautéed gherkins and sashimi tadpoles, they’ll accept anything for lunch,” he said.

“I’m quite happy to consider the menu when you tell me what’s on it and what it costs. Tell me what it costs. Tell me how we do it,” he said.

Joyce also criticised a move by the European Union to introduce a carbon border adjustment mechanism that seeks to impose new charges on imports of emissions-intensive products.

He said the “arbitrary” barrier would impede the ability of the economy to recover from the shock of the Covid pandemic.

“What’s happening to Europe with the so-called carbon tariff is just a tariff. Forget about the adjective, it’s just a noun. It’s a tax,” Joyce said.

The trade minister, Dan Tehan, has also criticised the EU’s new carbon tariffs, saying they are revenue raising and will undermine free trade.

Labor’s shadow minister for climate change, Chris Bowen, said the government’s position on net zero was at odds with the views of farmers and regional Australia.

“They are all pretty hopeless when it comes to seizing the opportunities for rural and regional Australia,” Bowen told Sky News.

“It just goes to show that the weakest possible commitment of net zero by 2050, even that is impossible for this government which is divided over the science of climate change and divided over the economic opportunities of climate change including and especially for rural and regional Australia.”

Source link


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *