NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean says Australia should commit to net zero emissions by 2050
He says it should be done even if there's no "roadmap" yet to how it can be achieved
Scott Morrison says zero emissions is "our goal" but won't commit to the target
Speaking last night at a community meeting at Berowra, in Sydney's north, Mr Kean urged his Liberal colleague to follow NSW's example and sign up to the target, even if he didn't have a plan to achieve it.
"People say you shouldn't commit to net zero emissions unless you know how to get there, well I say that's ridiculous," Mr Kean said.
"The roadmap is all about putting the policy settings in place to encourage the private sector to build infrastructure that we need to replace the existing infrastructure."
To illustrate his message, Mr Kean used former US President John F. Kennedy's ambitious goal in 1962 to get American astronauts to the moon.
"And I say the same thing to our Prime Minister and those standing in the way of ensuring our country is able to win in this low-carbon global economy.
"Let's set the goal — and I have every confidence in the Australian people, our industry and their enterprising nature to be able to hit that goal — and ensure Australia remains not only a great place to live but becomes an energy and economic superpower."
Mr Kean was responding to the Prime Minister's address to the National Press Club on Monday in which he said it was the Government's "goal to reach net zero emissions as soon as possible, and preferably by 2050."
The 2050 target, is a by-product of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, which aims to limit the the average global temperature rise to "well below 2 degrees Celsius".
To limit warming to 1.5C, it's estimated a reduction to net zero emissions must take place around 2050.
"For too long this debate has been dominated by the angry voices on the right who don't want any progress to occur, and the voices on the left who want to use this debate to undermine our free-market economy," Mr Kean said.
This is not the first time Mr Kean has broken ranks with federal Liberal colleagues.