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Australian mining giants back net-zero target

·1-min read
Most Australians want concrete action to tackle climate change, with calls intensifying following a string of climate-worsened bushfires and other disasters (AFP/PETER PARKS)

Australia's powerful mining sector has backed a 2050 net-zero carbon target, heaping pressure on the country's coal-championing government to follow suit.

The Minerals Council of Australia -- which represents mining heavy hitters like BHP and Rio Tinto -- said a 2050 target was achievable through "significant investment in technology".

"A more sustainable minerals sector is not only important for Australia's post-Covid recovery, it is also helping to sustain and improve the lives of millions around the world," chief executive Tania Constable said.

Australia is currently one of the world's leading exporters of fossil fuels, particularly coal and natural gas.

Its conservative government continues to fund new coal projects despite the global climate crisis and mounting questions about whether new mines make economic sense.

Conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison has so far shied away from setting a net-zero target carbon emissions target, despite pressure from the United States, Britain and other allies ahead of climate talks in Glasgow.

Morrison has threatened to boycott the landmark UN climate summit, which begins late this month.

At the same time, his government has slowly shifted focus away from a 2030 carbon-neutral target to a less ambitious 2050 target -- which critics say is too little, too late.

A series of senior figures within Morrison's government, and now closely tied industry groups, have backed the 2050 target publicly.

But there is still division within Morrison's ruling coalition.

He faces reelection before May next year and will almost certainly need the stridently pro-coal and climate-sceptic National Party to form a government.

Polls show most Australians favour concrete action to tackle climate change, with those calls only intensifying following a string of climate-worsened bushfires and other natural disasters.

arb/jah

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