The government was asked to come up with a plan for greater climate action, but the deputy prime minister said it was not his job.
Barnaby Joyce says there has to be a plan to achieve a net zero climate goal, but says the work has to be done by someone other than the government.
A major climate report, released on Monday, warned the planet was on the verge of being 1.5 degrees warmer within 10 years. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the climate toll is a “code red for humanity” and urged nations to take bigger action.
Speaking to ABC National Radio, the Deputy Prime Minister said he understood the “emotion” behind the call for greater action, but would not budge until the cost of it. climate action would not have been revealed.
“If you’re just going to make an arbitrary claim, oh we’ll get to 2050, that’s fine, understand the emotion and almost understand a moral perspective of it, but you have to lengthen the plan,” he said.
But host Fran Kelly took Mr Joyce to task, asking if the government was working on the plan he constantly refers to before moving forward.
“With all due respect, Barnaby Joyce, you are the Deputy Prime Minister of this government. You are asking your government to develop a plan. Where are you with the plan? ” she asked.
Mr. Joyce said it was not up to the government to come up with the plan.
“In fact, we are not developing the plan. CSIRO, other knowledgeable people, are proposing the plan, ”he said.
Ms Kelly also asked Mr Joyce – following the IPCC report – about whether he had factored in the cost of climate inaction.
“You talk about a clear understanding of the cost situation. If we take a look at the impact that this IPCC report says the increased emissions will have on in particular, you know, your constituents … don’t we also need to do that and have you looked at the cost of not take action? ” she asked.
“If that’s the problem, if you have carte blanche, and it doesn’t matter, then we can really just go back to saying anything again, anything goes,” Joyce replied.
Mr Joyce’s remarks signal yet another headache for Scott Morrison as he turns to a major United Nations climate change summit in November.
Mr Morrison is under increasing pressure to adopt more ambitious climate goals, fearing that Australia will remain isolated on the world stage in Glasgow if it does not.
On Tuesday, he said he would update Australia’s emissions projections for 2030 at the summit. Mr Morrison has previously said he wants to reach net zero “preferably” by 2050, but faces significant negotiations with the Nationals before making a formal commitment.