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Gladys Berejiklian says reaching net zero emissions by 2050 is achievable and would be 'the stuff of dreams'

The New South Wales’ Liberal premier, Gladys Berejiklian, says it will not take much to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and it would be “the stuff of dreams” for an Australian Coalition government to legislate that target.

The comments came at a Wednesday night webinar conversation between Berejiklian and the former British prime minister Theresa May, hosted by the group Coalition for Conservation.

Drawing an implicit contrast between her administration and the Morrison government, Berejiklian said it was “music to her ears” to hear May describe Britain as “a modern progressive democracy with a centre-right government” that had world-leading emissions policy that promoted economic growth.

“I’m sure if I said this publicly … I don’t think there’s any media on this webinar … the assessment we’ve done is the targets for net zero by 2050, it doesn’t take much to get there,” she said, citing how quickly the world was being changed by clean technology and digitisation.

Berejiklian praised May on her performance as prime minister, describing it as “legacy-making”. “To have a conservative Tory government legislate 2050 emissions is the stuff of dreams in Australia, and we can only hope to emulate it,” she said.

Britain has been urging other countries to follow it in adopting the mid-century net zero emissions goal before it hosts the next major UN climate conference in Glasgow, citing scientific evidence, but the Morrison government is resisting the push. The conference summit has ben delayed until November 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All Australian states and a growing number of businesses, including some major energy and fossil fuel companies, have backed a 2050 net zero emissions target. Groups representing the breadth of Australian business and society last week warned the country was “woefully unprepared” for the impact of climate change and its governments needed to do far more to address it.

Berejiklian said she believed a post-Covid world would present opportunities to consider “more sustainable ways of living, more sustainable ways of working”. “I think as we emerge from Covid that the public will feel connected and more in tune with protecting the environment,” she said.

The premier praised her energy and environment minister, Matt Kean, for working with regional communities to set up proposed renewable energy zones, and raised the challenge and possibilities of helping fossil fuel-reliant communities adapt to a low-emissions future.

“I think what we need to do better, perhaps, in NSW and Australia to improve the narrative is to target those in communities who might be transitioning out of other jobs,” she said.

“You can hypothecate those [clean energy] jobs into those communities because their main concern is not what they are digging out of the ground, but the fact they are putting food on the table. If you can allay those concerns and overlap the jobs growth in the communities that are feeling the angst, I think that is a mutually beneficial way forward.”

Read the full article published on MSN News 03 Sept 2020

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