Joyce questions 2050 climate target cost

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Barnaby Joyce has likened agreeing to a policy of net zero emissions by 2050 to going into a restaurant and ordering a meal without knowing what you are getting and how much it will cost.

The coalition government has yet to formally agree to a 2050 target, but talks about being on a path to one.

But Mr Joyce, who recently returned to the leadership of the Nationals party and the role of deputy prime minister, has yet to be convinced.

Mr Joyce was asked on the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday whether he supports a 2050 emissions target.

“Generally how restaurants work is you go in and have a menu and they have what’s on the menu for lunch and what the price is,” Mr Joyce said in reply.

“That is how a competent decision is made and that’s what we’re looking for. What’s on the menu and what the price is.”

He said that is the rational process and how you go about anything, but he said the Labor party’s approach is that they don’t care what’s on the menu.

“They don’t care what is the price and when what turns up is sauteed gherkins and sashimi tadpoles, they’ll accept anything for lunch,” he said.

Asked again by Insiders host David Speers whether he is in favour of net zero by 2050, Mr Joyce said he couldn’t be clearer.

“I’m quite happy to consider the menu when you tell me what’s on it and what it costs. Tell me what it costs. Tell me how we do it,” he said.

Last week the European Union announced a proposal to introduce a tax on energy-intensive imports from countries without a carbon price.

It would mean Australian exporters would have to pay more to sell into the EU compared with producers from countries that have more ambitious climate policies.

Mr Joyce was unimpressed, saying the EU is bringing in arbitrary tariff barriers which will impede the economic recovery from COVID if the world goes down that path.

“What’s happening to Europe with the so-called carbon tariff is just a tariff. Forget about the adjective, it’s just a noun. It’s a tax,” he said.

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