China is Australia’s largest two-way trading partner, with an almost 29 per cent share.(
Reuters: Jason Lee )
Fact Check’s analysis found that 20 of Australia’s 30 biggest trading partners had committed to reaching net zero by 2050 or earlier, while China was committed to net- zero emissions by 2060.
Together, these countries accounted for 71.6 per cent of Australia’s total two-way trade in 2019-20.
This is consistent with Mr Rudd and Mr Turnbull’s claim.
This figure takes in some, but not all, members of the European Union, which in March 2021 resolved to design a “carbon border adjustment mechanism”.
A statement issued by EU parliamentarians explained that such a mechanism would “place a carbon price on imports of certain goods from outside the EU, if these countries are not ambitious enough about climate change”.
In total, EU countries (excluding Poland, which does not currently support a net-zero target) accounted for 8.8 per cent of Australian two-way trade. This included EU members already counted in the top 30 (7.6 per cent of trade) as well as remaining EU countries (1.2 per cent).
Including all European trading partners in the count would take the portion of Australian two-way trade covered by net-zero commitments to at least 72.8 per cent.
Trade with Taiwan, which accounts for a further 2.1 per cent of total trade, has not been included.
However, the day after Mr Rudd and Mr Turnbull made their claim, the Taiwanese government announced that it, too, would begin looking at how it could reach net zero by 2050.
Fact Check also examined Australia’s 30 biggest export destinations, along with the European Union.
Measured this way, 17 of Australia’s 30 biggest trading partners were committed to net-zero emissions, accounting for 74.2 per cent of total exports.
EU nations not included in the top 30 trading countries added a further 1.3 per cent — for a total of 75.5 per cent of Australia’s exports
Again, this is consistent with the claim made by Mr Rudd and Mr Turnbull.
As with the two-way trade figures, countries that announced net-zero targets after the date of the claim have not been included.
During the Biden-led April 22 summit, the Brazilian government said it would achieve climate neutrality by 2050, though days earlier it also said doing so would require $US10 billion ($12.7 billion) a year in foreign aid.
Principal researchers: David Campbell and Josh Gordon, Economics and Finance Editor