Queensland’s opposition has announced it will bring a net zero emissions target by 2050 to the next state election at the LNP’s annual convention in Brisbane over the weekend.
LNP leader David Crisafulli said it was “deeply troubling” that emissions had increased in Queensland over the past several years.
He told reporters on Sunday the “debate has moved on” and that the party would start considering how emissions reductions could be achieved.
“The question now is how do we do it? How do we do it to make ourselves have energy that is affordable, reliable and sustainable? How do we make sure that we don’t just talk about targets that we actually achieve energy reduction?”
The announcement drew immediate criticism from environmentalists and the Queensland Greens who argued the target did not go far enough.
“Our emissions targets should be based on the science, not political manoeuvring,” Dave Copeman, director of the Queensland Conservation Council, said.
“I hope the next LNP emissions reduction policy is in line with climate science necessary to keep warming to 1.5 degrees.”
Copeman welcomed the LNP’s support of Labor’s policy on coal royalties but criticised the party’s consideration of nuclear power at the annual conference.
“Regrettably senior LNP leaders continuing to raise the distraction of nuclear power, suggests they are still looking for soundbites, not science-based solutions,” he said.
“Solar, wind and storage are the proven technology that provides cheaper, cleaner power … If we continue the climate wars, we risk missing out of the investment and future-proof jobs that the renewables transformation will create.”
South Brisbane MP Amy MacMahon tweeted that the Palaszczuk government and Queensland opposition now have the same net zero target by 2050.
“It’s not science-based. And on our current trajectory, we’re not going to meet even this,” she said on Sunday.
The Palaszczuk government last year accused the LNP of “crab walking” towards climate action and attempting to “cobble something together” in the lead-up to the federal election.
In New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, the Liberals have backed a target to reach net zero emissions by 2050. In Western Australia, the Liberals have promised zero emissions by 2030. While the federal Liberals support a target of net zero emissions by 2045.
The Queensland state government took their net zero emissions target by 2050 to the state election in 2020, alongside its existing 2030 target to cut emissions from 2005 levels by 30%.
In response, the LNP said it would scrap both the interim target and the net zero target by 2050 and instead align the state to the federal government’s targets.
The Coalition did not have a net zero target at the time but had committed to an emissions reduction of 26–28% below 2005 levels by 2030.
“Unlike Labor who have promised change to only go backwards, the LNP will work with the private sector, energy market institutions, households and businesses as we transition towards a sustainable energy future,” Crisafulli said when he was the environment spokesperson.
“To increase the amount of renewable energy, the LNP will fast-track approvals for major projects, including renewable energy projects to reduce power bills and create more green jobs.”