The National Party has committed to supporting a target of net zero emissions by 2050 ahead of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s upcoming appearance at the COP26 climate summit.
COP26 will take place between 31 October and 12 November. The 26th United Nations summit will bring world leaders together to work toward the goals of both the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Prime Minister will be asked to commit to net zero emissions at the summit.
National MPs met on Sunday afternoon to discuss the Prime Minister’s proposed policy before it is put before federal cabinet. Party leader Barnaby Joyce says most of the party’s concerns about regional job losses were addressed and eased during the meeting.
The Prime Minister’s policy package includes plans to invest in hydrogen energy and produce incentives for farmers to encourage offsetting emissions. Mr Morrison is set to seek an endorsement for the policy package from federal cabinet in anticipation of flying to Glasgow for next week’s COP26 climate summit.
“The easy decision would be to say ‘no’ and join other people in screaming and yelling from the sidelines, having no influence on where the decision went,” explained Mr Joyce.
“It’s a very vexed issue and people have strong feelings on both sides.”
The Nationals’ agreement to the policy package is conditional. The party sent a letter of request to the Prime Minister last week describing the conditions of their agreement, however the details of these conditions have not been made public.
Although the details of the agreement are confidential, Mr Joyce says negotiations had improved conditions for regional Australians “without a shadow of a doubt”.
“The Nationals have been really clear what we are interested in ensuring and securing is a prosperous and sustainable future for our communities and the industries that underpin them,” explained Nationals Senate leader Bridget McKenzie following a meeting last week.
The policy package was not met with unanimous approval at Sunday’s meeting. However, the agreement was approved after receiving sufficient support from the party.
“We recognise this has been a challenging issue for the Nationals,” explained Mr Morrison.
“I thank the DPM for his leadership and his colleagues for their considered support. I greatly respect the process they have undertaken in reaching this decision.”
The Prime Minister is scheduled to leave for Glasgow at the end of this week.