ANALYSIS

Weapons are drawn with climate debate stacked on jobs

Opposition Leader, Anthony Albanese. Picture: Elesa Kurt
Opposition Leader, Anthony Albanese. Picture: Elesa Kurt

Federal Labor's climate pledge has unveiled weapons of mass economic growth will be deployed to win votes at next year's election.

Both the government and opposition have laid out two alternatives for the nation to achieve a net zero position by the middle of the century. But the devil is the detail.

Anthony Albanese during Labor's formal commitment to reduce emissions by 43 per cent by 2030, outlined the switch to lower polluting technology such as renewables would inject 604,000 jobs into the economy.

That is almost six times the amount the Morrison government's modeling suggests, which partly bases its net zero strategy on technology not even invented yet.

However when looking solely at direct jobs, the Coalition comes out on top.

The federal government's modelling done by McKinsey shows roughly 100,000 jobs would be created from decarbonising the economy, while Labor's plan is set to only create 63,994 direct employment opportunities.

Labor's headline grab predominantly relies on indirect job opportunities, which forecasts most of the roles would be generated in the electricity sector.

The remainder of the indirect jobs would arise in the transport, industry and carbon farming.

On electricity prices, Labor's plan does provide greater clarity on how household budgets will be affected.

According to Labor's modelling, retail electricity bills by 2030 are expected to be $378, or 26 per cent lower through the adoption of 82 per cent of the energy grid being comprised of renewables.

The Morrison plan notes electricity prices would drop with the adoption of lower emissions technology but does not compute the savings benefit for households at the interim target mark.

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Labor leader Anthony Albanese on Friday noted its plan would cost the budget $640 million, with a $24 billion set aside as the initial investment.

The Coalition's long-term emissions reduction plan straddles a similar start-up investment of $20 billion.

Batteries, solar and hydrogen feature heavily in Labor's claim to reduce costs, while the government model relies on expanding choice and driving down the cost of new technologies to compete in the energy market.

What really stands out is the political play for regional Australia, hinting that both parties are deeply concerned about losing votes in fossil fuel seats such as Flynn and Upper Hunter.

Mr Albanese claimed five-in-six of the jobs created under its plan would go to someone in regional Australia, a similar pledge spouted by the the Coalition.

Both parties now seem prepared to joust over climate. But questions remain over which will have the most effective blow and come out on top.

This story Bush jobs, bill busters and a big choof of climate politics first appeared on The Canberra Times.