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'This Is Awkward': Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Couldn't Explain the Most Basic Climate Goal

William West/Pool via AP

If climate zealots cared the slightest about convincing average people to get on board with their ideas, one would think they’d be able to discuss the issues in layman’s terms, or even at all. But as was the case between one Australian lawmaker and the foreign affairs minister, it appears that’s too much to ask. 

During questioning, Senator Pauline Hanson asked Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong to clearly define net-zero emissions and explain how much Australian taxpayers would be on the hook to achieve it. 

Wong had no clue how to answer the question. Instead, she condescendingly said it’s so easy everyone understands the meaning. 

"I'm not sure how to explain it, other than to say it means net zero," Wong said with a laugh. "I will think through if I can provide an explanation that makes it clearer than that, but to me the words 'net zero' are quite clear.

"I think we all understand what 'net emissions' means," she continued. "I think it's a commonly understood objective, and it's an objective, as the senator knows, that is shared by those opposite, I thought. Maybe not."

Speaking about the exchange on Sky News, The Daily Telegraph’s Tim Blair had a much easier time answering the question than Wong. 

“There are ways to explain it…net-zero means you are producing emissions but you are doing things that either offset or otherwise address those emissions so the effect is net-zero,” he said. “If I can understand it, and I’m an idiot, come on, I can explain that question, come on Penny Wong.”

Australia's parliament on Thursday passed legislation that commits the country to reduce carbon emissions by 43 percent by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. 

The goal means that Australia will attempt to completely negate the carbon emissions released through methods that reduce and absorb carbon dioxide. 


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