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Most Aussies want national net-zero emissions by 2050

New Research from The Australia Institute has revealed that a majority (62%) of Australians support a national target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier.

While every Australian State and Territory already has a target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, the Federal Government has refused to commit to the policy.

The research was released ahead of Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor’s dismal performance at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 25, in Madrid last week.

Key findings:

• A majority (62%) of Australians support a national target of net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier; 21% support a target of net-zero emission by 2050, while 41% support an earlier target.

• A majority of Coalition voters (54%) support a national target of net-zero emissions by 2050, if not earlier.

• Two in three Australians (67%) support their State/Territory Governments setting a net-zero emissions target.

“Our research shows a majority of Australians, including a majority of Coalition voters, back a national long-term target to net-zero emissions. All that is missing is the national leadership,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Director at the Australia Institute.

“At COP25 in Madrid, a growing number of countries, states, cities and businesses are committing to carbon neutrality by 2050 as a popular and responsible approach to climate change.”

New Zealand shows the way

“It was a powerful example to see New Zealand lock in a target of net zero emissions by 2050 in its Zero Carbon Act last month, and the European Union is currently working through a plan to reach a similar goal.

“At COP25, representatives of California and New York are also outlining their state plans to reach net zero by 2050, to show that a lack of national leadership should not be confused with a lack of action on the ground. Maybe the same can be said about Australia.”

The 2020 Climate Change Performance Index, prepared by a group of thinktanks comprising the NewClimate Institute, the Climate Action Network and Germanwatch, looks at national climate action across the categories of emissions, renewable energy, energy use and policy.

Australia scores zero for climate action

Across all four categories, Australia was ranked as the sixth-worst performing of the 57 countries assessed.

On the assessment of national and international climate policy, Australia is singled out as the worst-performing, with the report saying the re-elected Morrison government “has continued to worsen performance at both national and international levels.”

Australia scored the lowest possible rating of 0.0, compared with the highest-scoring country, Portugal, which was ranked best for its climate policy at 97.8%.

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