Australian National University economics professor Warwick McKibbin — whose “authoritative” research was used to justify Labor’s climate policies at the last election — has rejected the need for rigid medium-term emissions targets to take action on climate change and reach zero-net emissions by 2050.
With Labor foes Mark Butler and Joel Fitzgibbon divided over the need for the party to set a 2030 or 2035 target in opposition, Professor McKibbin said “you don’t want specific targets” to set the nation on a low-cost path to zero-net emissions by 2050.
“If you’re going after 2050 net zero, you want to get there at the lowest cost, which means you want a mechanism that allows you to get there gradually over time and minimises costs,” he said. “It may not be consistent with any particular 2020 or 2030 target. It is the policy framework that matters.
“You can announce as many targets as you like but if you haven’t got the policy framework in place then it is much harder to achieve those targets.”