Fed climate pressure as NSW cuts emissions

·3-min read

The NSW government's decision to forge ahead with an expedited timeline to slash emissions by 2050 has placed pressure on the federal government which is split on the issue.

The NSW cabinet has agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, on its way to the state's own 2050 net-zero target, it was announced on Wednesday.

The cut is deeper than its previous emissions target of a 35 per cent reduction by 2030.

The federal government is considering adopting a national net-zero target ahead of a major climate summit in Glasgow this year but is facing internal opposition from Nationals concerned about regional impacts.

NSW Liberal Energy Minister Matt Kean is confident his state will "smash" its new 2030 target, which is supported by NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro.

The move has been widely applauded by business and environmental groups, but NSW Labor said it had hoped the government would be more ambitious.

"It seems, at the moment, we will reach the 2030 target of 50 per cent reduction in emissions if everything stays exactly the same," Opposition energy and climate change spokesman Jihad Dib told reporters.

"It doesn't take that much courage to get up and make an announcement of something that's already got to take place."

Business NSW CEO Daniel Hunter said he was excited by the plan's promise to cut energy bills for businesses, which would be "a significant achievement".

NSW Farmers also welcomed the announcement as good news for farmers looking to innovate and grow their businesses, but voiced concerns about the placement of large-scale renewable energy and transmission installations.

"We must ensure it does not displace food and fibre from quality land," NSW Farmers vice president Xavier Martin said.

"All eyes now turn to the prime minister", the Australian Conservation Foundation said.

NSW's "big bold policies" to reach net-zero by 2050 will create thousands of jobs, Mr Kean said, but the federal government on the other hand is "not being ambitious enough".

"We need a net-zero commitment, at least, by the federal government," he told ABC radio.

"My message to the commonwealth is, get on with it."

Mr Kean rejected arguments by some federal Nationals that reducing Australia's carbon footprint will hurt the regions economically, particularly in coal.

"It's a false argument. It's not one or the other - you can do both," he said.

"We're putting in place policies that will reduce our emissions but turbocharge our economy."

Mr Kean said Prime Minister Scott Morrison should go to the United Nations climate summit and persuade the world to take greater action on climate change.

"We should lead the world when it comes to taking action on climate change rather than sitting back and waiting for the world to persuade us to lead in this area," he added.

"This is the biggest economic opportunity of a lifetime and we need to grab it with both hands to ensure we set ourselves up for a more prosperous future."

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the 2030 target would help the world decarbonise and shore up the NSW economy.

"Our Net Zero Plan is expected to attract more than $37 billion in private sector investment into NSW, support more than 9000 jobs, save households about $130 on their electricity bills and help NSW become Australia's first trillion-dollar state by 2030," she said.

Mr Barilaro said NSW regional communities would reap the rewards of emerging industries.

"Whether it is in modern manufacturing, minerals or agriculture, regional NSW is home to the skills, infrastructure and resources needed as the demand for low emissions technologies like batteries and hydrogen grows," he said.

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