Letter to the editor | Net zero is coming right across the world

John Gwyther, Coongulla

RACHEL Southwell’s letter “Net zero is a ‘wacky green policy'” trots out the old and abusive canards about who supports net zero.
She might be surprised to hear that national public opinion polls strongly support it and there is also extensive (and tested) local support for stronger action on climate change.
That’s right, from farmers, pensioners, retirees, school-children, tradespeople, and so on.
If she had been reading the overseas news, she might have seen that the European Union, China and the United States have also laid out net zero programs.
And they are backing it up with carbon-dumping penalties for the laggards like Australia, where the conservative side of politics has poisoned the well of public debate on dealing with climate change.
As for timing, we wouldn’t have had to wrestle simultaneously with COVID, climate and China issues if our politicians had bitten the bullet years ago.
Net zero is coming globally, and the sooner our leaders recognize this, roll up their sleeves and carve out an enduring competitive advantage for Australia in a net zero world, the better.
Net zero targets are not ‘wacky green policy’
From Tony Smith, Sale:
Rachel Southwell (Gippsland Times 20/7) contends that global warming is an irrelevance compared to other issues and that “net zero (emissions) is a wacky green policy promoted by the arrogant inner-city left …”.
I must admit to be sick of hearing this type of baseless commentary, and felt the need to respond.
Thirty minutes of simple Google searching will provide the facts.
In 2015, 196 countries agreed enough about the impacts of climate change to sign an historic accord to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius, preferably to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels.
To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century – that is, zero net emissions by 2050.
This is founded in science, not ideology.
Many countries signed up to the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal – including Australia’s Abbott coalition government.
Even China has adopted a 2060 zero net emissions goal.
No Green governments in that lot.
Policy and reality are a different beast though, as may countries lag behind their ambitions – including Australia.
Every state in Australia has signed up to a zero net emissions by 2050 goal, including the three LNP-led states – New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.
Last time I looked, there were no green governments in Australia, nor no green balances of power.
The zero net emissions position is supported by the World Economic Forum, the World Bank, the International Chamber of Commerce and the International Monetary Fund – all entities focused on economic prosperity.
The Australian Climate Round Table which includes the Business Council of Australia, Australian Council of Trade Unions, Australian Industry Group, Australian Energy Council and the National Farmers Federation all support a zero net emissions by 2050 goal.
It’s worth saying that in August last year the NFF, which claims to represent the interests of more than 80,000 Australian farmers, voted in favour of the “landmark policy”, stating that Australia needs a tougher policy on climate, calling on the Morrison government to commit to an economy-wide target of net zero carbon emission by 2050.
Of course this gave a certain National senator a bout of apoplexy.
I’d suggest there aren’t many “inner city left” types in the NFF, although several farmers that I know do like a good latte.
At the corporate level, companies in the commercial and industrial sector account for about half of the world’s end-of-use of electricity.
More than 300 have signed up to RE100 [a global initiative bringing together the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100 per cent renewable electricity].
This group includes some of the largest companies in the world.
The 14 Australian members of RE100 include Woolworths Group, Westpac, Suncorp, QBE, NAB, Mirvac, Macquarie, Interactive, Dexus, Commonwealth bank, BINGO Industries, Bank Australia, Atlassian and the ANZ.
More than 70 international companies with operations in Australia are also members of RE100.
Why? Because it makes economic sense.
Opinions are important, but wild statements without substance are a waste of column length.