Barnaby Joyce says Nationals will support doubling of short-term emissions target “highly unlikely”

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce insists nationals will not be forced to support a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050, as he has also ruled out supporting more ambitious short-term climate goals.

Members and Senators of the Coalition’s junior partner are meeting in Canberra to try to strike a net-zero deal.

While there is a feeling that nationals will end up supporting the policy, the meeting will likely be dominated by the discussion of what concessions party members will ask for in return for their support.

This could prove to be a costly exercise for the taxpayer, with some nationals having already publicly insisted that hundreds of millions of dollars in financial support will need to be provided to regional communities and industries which they believe will be decimated by politics. .

The debate precedes the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, in which the Prime Minister confirmed his participation on Friday.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr. Joyce said his message to his colleagues was clear.

“I would say, ‘you have been listening to your phones, you have spoken to your people in your electorate, this is your opportunity to bring these concerns, issues and feelings of these voters in this room,” “he said. noted.

“And then in a collegial way with the others, we will try to land in a position as best we can.”

Bridget Mckenzie, Barnaby Joyce and David Littleproud arrive for the meeting on Sunday.(ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

He warned that the nationals would not simply comply and adopt the policy at the behest of the Liberals, despite the government in coalition with them.

“In the national championships, on the crucial decisions, we will make a national decision as we have done in the past,” said Joyce.

“We are not in the Liberal Party room, we are in the Nationals room, and we will make a decision of the Nationals, and we will not be held hostage by what others might wish.”

Energy Minister Angus Taylor, a Liberal MP, will brief the meeting on the government’s plan to reach net zero by 2050, before allowing nationals to debate the issue among themselves.

Australia is under pressure to not only commit to reaching the goal of net zero before the Glasgow summit, but also to adopt more ambitious short-term emission reduction targets by 2030.

When asked if he would support any attempt to double the country’s current short-term target, the Deputy Prime Minister replied that it would be “highly unlikely”.

One of the outspoken critics of net zero is national backbench Senator Matt Canavan, who described it as part of a “waking” agenda that would decimate regional communities and the industries on which it relies. Australian economy.

“From what I’ve seen, the government doesn’t seem to have a plan, it has a prayer,” he said.

Three men walk down a hallway towards the camera.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor (left) arrives for the village hall meeting.(ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

“He has a prayer that the hydrogen will work somehow, save all our jobs – well the prime minister might believe in miracles, but I don’t think we should bet people’s jobs on a wing and a prayer.

“People’s jobs are at risk here, hydrogen and other technologies might not work, so why should we stake our future, our security, our strength as a nation on things we don’t know ‘they actually work. “

The Coalition has come under attack for being weak in the fight against climate action, but Finance Minister Simon Birmingham has denied that government is national-driven.

“We are bringing people from all over the country together so that we can effectively examine all the implications of the issues,” he told Sky News.

In defending the situation, Senator Birmingham also appeared to urge his national counterparts to support the goal of net zero.

“There is no point in pretending that there are not parts of the Australian community that are concerned about the implications of these decisions,” he said.

Labor has insisted they will set their emissions reduction targets, including commitments for 2030, as the next election approaches and after the Coalition shows its hand.

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David Speers interviews shadow finance minister Katy Gallagher.

“We don’t know what the government’s ambition is,” shadow finance minister Katy Gallagher told ABC’s Insiders program.

“I think what we’ve seen, eight years, three prime ministers, 21 energy policies and now the prime minister trying to negotiate a last minute deal with the National Party on what they are actually standing for.

“The government has to govern, they are in charge, they have to accept net zero, they have to legislate on that target and they have to set average targets – that’s the minimum the government should do.”

Senator Gallagher was asked if she thought adopting a carbon price would be the most effective way to achieve net zero, as suggested by organizations including the Business Council of Australia.

“We are looking at everything, we are looking at all the information from all the critics, we are monitoring Glasgow and we will announce our policies before the election,” she replied.

“I think it’s the responsible thing to do.

“We will have different components to these policies, but I am not in a position this morning to let you know exactly what they are.”

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott repealed Labor carbon pricing legislation after winning the 2013 election, after years of campaigning against the policy.

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