Scott Morrison will cave to international pressure and back a net-zero emissions target by 2050, his predecessor predicts.
Speaking to a business summit on Tuesday, Malcolm Turnbull accused the Prime Minister of parroting US President Donald Trump on climate policy.
He predicted Mr Trump’s election loss would prompt a rhetorical and policy pivot from the Morrison government, including a switch to a net-zero emissions target by 2050.
“I’m confident Morrison will move to that. He probably over-channelled Trump. He was clearly dazzled by Trump and went full-in with that in a number of areas,” Mr Turnbull said.
“All the talk about being against globalism and so forth was channelling ‘the Donald’, including on climate.”
Despite describing net zero by 2050 as achievable, Mr Morrison has so far resisted following major powers across Europe and Asia by backing a hard target.
He insists Australia is matching its commitments to the Paris Climate Accord
But US President-elect Joe Biden has committed to net zero by 2050 and has picked John Kerry to be his special climate envoy.
Mr Kerry, who Mr Turnbull described as a “real climate evangelist with huge global credibility”, will become the first American climate tsar to sit on the National Security Council.
“The reality on climate is all of our major trading partners have a net-zero target and the Biden administration will return to the climate fray with a real enthusiasm … so Australia has to get on board,” Mr Turnbull said.
Labor has also used Mr Biden’s win to reignite its call for the government to take the 2050 net-zero pledge.
The comments come after the Energy Minister demanded politicians be more transparent over their energy plans.
“If policy makers want to force out coal generators prematurely, they should say that upfront,” Angus Taylor told the Australian Financial Review Energy and Climate Summit.
“We need to avoid politics trumping policy with reactionary schemes that appease vested interests and ignore the interests of customers, those quiet Australians.”
Labor has also attempted to reset after a bruising month of internal division over energy policy.
Joel Fitzgibbon resigned from the shadow frontbench, arguing the party had lost touch with its blue collar workers, and could not win with its current climate policy.
He called for Labor climate spokesman Mark Butler to lose his portfolio.
In a speech to the Developing Northern Australia Conference in Rockhampton, powerbroker Murray Watt attempted to break the deadlock on coal, saying Labor “treasured” every mining job.
Mr Watt said supporting mining and encouraging the development of renewable energies were not mutually exclusive.
He told Sky News industries “that we have relied on for decades still have a positive future”.
“People are sick of the culture war that exists between the left and the right of politics, which says that you can only have the old industries or only have the new,” he said.