“The challenge of combating climate change will not be met the same way, and it will be met by people who frankly are largely no in this room,” he told the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) on Monday night.
“It will be our scientists, our technologists, our engineers, our entrepreneurs, our industrialists and our financiers that will actually chart the path to net zero and it is up to us as leaders of government to back them in.”
He said it was the “Australian way to bet on” the experts in the field.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the world’s leaders should “bet on” scientists in finding the solution to combat climate change. Picture: Getty Images
Australia pledged to spend more money to help developing Pacific neighbouring nations to fight climate change and seek an agreement on rapid cuts to global emissions.
“Cleaner technology solutions must outcompete existing technologies if they are to be successful everywhere, especially in developing economies,” he said.
“And achieve it in a way that does not deny our citizens, especially in developing economies, their livelihoods or the opportunity for a better quality of life.”
Morrison defends nuclear subs contract
The Prime Minister added “technology will have the answers to a decarbonised economy” and compared it to the fast development of the coronavirus vaccine that is seeing the world slowly return to a pre-pandemic life.
Australia will double its climate commitment to its Pacific and South East Asian partners to $2 billion until 2025.
Mr Morrison spruiked his government’s commitment to net zero by 2050 and said Australia’s emissions would fall by 35 per cent by 2030.
However he failed to provide an update on the official 26 to 28 per cent drop from 2005 levels, a figure significantly out of step with the richer nations of the world.
While the 2030 target could be seen as ambitious, scientists believe it is essential in giving the world a chance to stop global warming of more than 1.5 degrees.
While the 2030 target could be seen as ambitious, scientists believe it is essential in giving the world a chance to stop global warming of more than 1.5 degrees. Picture: Getty Images
Mr Morrison said international collaboration, partnerships and high-integrity international carbon offsets were critical in achieving net zero emissions globally.
“Driving the emergence of low-emissions technologies and fostering their widespread adoption is at the heart of our plan to reach net zero,” he said.
“That’s why we’ve set cost targets for clean hydrogen, low cost solar, low carbon steel and aluminium, energy storage, carbon capture and storage and soil carbon.”
Earlier in the day, Mr Morrison hit back at criticism from French President Emmanuel Macron that he lied about the trilateral agreement with the United States and the United Kingdom that saw the $90 billion submarine deal axed with France.
Mr Macron was quizzed by Australian reporters on whether Mr Morrison had lied to him to which he replied, “I don’t think, I know”.
Mr Morrison hit back saying, “I’m not going to cop sledging on Australia, I’m not going to cop that on behalf of Australians”.
“I can deal with whatever people throw at me but Australia has a proud record when it comes to our defence capability.”
Australia will ‘happily work with France on projects of mutual interest’: Morrison
He reiterated he had to put Australia’s interests first and took a swipe at France by saying the submarine deal was “not going to meet Australia’s strategic requirements”.
“Australia’s defence interests had to come first, this submarine was not the submarine that Australia needed.
“There have been significant changes that have occurred in our strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific which have completely changed the game.”
The pair are expected to cross paths again at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, after their awkward encounter at the G20 summit in the Italian city of Rome.

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