(CNN)Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Tuesday that his government had agreed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, after international allies, Australian state leaders and the country’s business community dialed up pressure on the leader to do so.
Dozens of countries have put forward plans to reach net-zero — where greenhouse gas emissions are reduced and any remaining emissions are removed from the atmosphere — ahead of the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, which begin on Sunday.CO2 levels in the atmosphere reach a 3 million-year highMorrison’s announcement comes after a breakthrough in negotiations with members of the Nationals, a party that Morrison’s Liberals — which is Australia’s center-right party — has a long-standing alliance with. “Our decision to now agree to a plan to achieve the target of net zero emissions by 2050 has not been taken lightly,” Morrison wrote in an opinion piece titled “The Australian Way,” which the Prime Minster’s Office sent to journalists.”We didn’t just agree to this without carefully thinking through all the consequences and impacts, especially in rural and regional areas.”Read MoreMorrison did not announce any new commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond the current target of 26-28% of 2005 levels by 2030. Australia has one of the weakest commitments of all G20 nations, and its allies, including the US and UK, have been calling on the country to bring its pledge closer to 50%.A COP flop? Covid looms over crucial climate talks as some key leaders snub the event“We won’t be lectured by others who do not understand Australia. The Australian Way is all about how you do it, and not if you do it. It’s about getting it done,” Morrison said.”We will also not be breaking the pledge we made at the last election by changing our 2030 emission reductions targets. I said we would meet and beat this target and we will. So at Glasgow I will update what we now believe we will achieve, demonstrating that performance is worth more than empty ambition. That’s the Australian way.”Morrison had put off the net-zero pledge for months, even though all the country’s states and territories had made the commitment. His announcement Tuesday suggests he may soon unveil his long-term climate strategy, which he said he would do sometime before COP26. Morrison also said previously he may not attend COP26 but agreed to do so recently after criticism over his leadership on climate issues.