National politicians are seeking multibillion-dollar green investments for the regions and legislation halting climate action if rural communities suffer economically.
The two demands will be central in formal negotiations this week between Scott Morrison and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce on a long-term emissions reduction package ahead of COP26 in late October.
At present, all the G7 nations have announced emissions reductions targets that have put them on the path to net zero by 2050.
Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce will begin negotiations this week with Scott Morrison to plot out a emissions reduction deal to take to COP26. Picture: Getty Images
Nationals Senate leader Bridget McKenzie on Monday will release a proposal for any net zero emissions commitment be tied to new legislation allowing Australia to hit pause if the targets negatively impact the regions.
A legislated regional socio-economic impact assessment mechanism would “permanently monitor and review the impacts of Australia’s emissions reduction strategies on regional Australia” and be accompanied by an independent assessment process every five years, she said.
“We want that net zero economic impact guaranteed. One mechanism to help future-proof regional jobs in a Glasgow pledge is the insertion of caveats that protect the regions,” she wrote in The Australian.
“This would allow Australia to say to the world, we would make our contribution but if it negatively impacts on our ­regional communities, we have the right as a sovereign nation to hit the pause button.”
Ms McKenzie says the mechanism would protect rural communities and enable Australia to “conditionally tie emissions reductions to positive regional socio-economic outcomes”.
A net zero target will hit regional workers the most: IPA
The negotiations between Mr Morrison and Mr Joyce will be focused on mapping out the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that Australia will bring to the UN climate summit in Glasgow later this month.
NDCs are national plans setting out how much each country will reduce their admissions going forward.
Under the Paris Agreement signed in 2015, countries committed to presenting NDCs at each of the annual climate summits. 
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to present the Liberal’s climate plan to Mr Joyce mid-week, before a final decision is reached ahead of COP26.
At COP26, countries have been asked to come forward with 2030 emissions reductions target that align with reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
The release on Saturday of the Business Council of Australia’s blueprint to reach net zero by 2050 has been endorsed by some moderate liberals, although none came out behind the Council’s target to cut emission by between 45 to 50 per cent by 2030.
Scott Morrison: Net-zero will be ‘set by Australians’
According to The Australian, the moderate Liberals have privately said the BCA’s 2030 target is too high and believe a target of 35 per cent would be more likely.
Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce says the BCA’s modelling is “credit card economics… a desire now and a hope you can pay later. When you pay in cash, however, you are always more cautious”.
“Modelling can be a euphemistic guess but here is some actual reports, from today, reports about what is actually happening… because of the ­reality that renewables which they thought would fill the void was wrong, that the modelling they had which predicted stability and prosperity was wrong and now chaos reins, and winter grows colder in ­Europe.”
Mr Joyce continues to also press for fossil fuels saying “Australia can be a massive beneficiary of what currently is the northern hemisphere energy crisis”.
Signing up to emissions target ‘gives investors and businesses confidence’
He also furnished advice for participants at the COP26 saying they “would be well advised to keep their cure for climate issues away from the residents of Carntyne West and Haghill, who are managing whether they heat or eat”.
Scott Morrison has committed to releasing projections ahead of Glasgow showing the government is on track to beat its present 2030 target – to lower emissions by 26-28 per cent from 2005 levels – but has so far resisted updating the pledge.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, for his part, has declared his support for reaching net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.
“I take this issue very seriously,” he said in August.
“I’ve been very consistent that climate change is real and man is contributing to it and we need to take relevant actions to reduce our emissions.”
COP26 will be hosted by the UK in Glasgow between October 31 and November 12.

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