Saturday, November 27

UK will be “very disappointed” if Scott Morrison does not participate in COP26 climate talks | Cop26: Glasgow 2021 climate change conference

The UK High Commissioner in Australia has warned that he will be “very disappointed” if Scott Morrison does not attend the climate talks in Glasgow, as pressure mounts to raise emissions reduction ambitions.

Vicki Treadell made the comments to ABC Radio National on Wednesday, warning that Australia risks being left behind if it does not adopt a net zero emissions target by 2050 and more ambitious interim targets at the Cop26 meeting that will be attended by hundreds of world leaders. .

Morrison has changed his rhetoric on reducing emissions, suggesting that he wants to achieve net zero by 2050 or preferably sooner, but has yet to convince his junior Coalition partner, the Nationals, to make such an objective official government policy.

Government MPs say Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor has privately raised the idea that the Coalition could adopt a plan to reach net zero without signing the target.

On Tuesday, Morrison met with Liberal MPs in fringe and metropolitan seats in an attempt to allay concerns that the government may not be able to announce a new target, as an agreement has yet to be reached with nationals, several of whom they are relentlessly opposed.

In recent days, Morrison has even refused to commit to attending the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow in November, let alone lifting Australia’s 2030 target, a 26-28% cut, which was set six years ago. . The goal has been widely criticized for not being compatible with the goals of the Paris agreement.

On Wednesday, Treadell said the UK “would love to [Morrison] attend ”and had“ high hopes ”that he would, but had not received confirmation yet. The UK “would be very disappointed” if Morrison did not attend, but the UK would ask Australia for more ambitious targets in any case, he told Radio National.

Treadell said the UK would like “all countries to make a clear and firm commitment to net zero emissions by 2050”, and asked Morrison to change his desire to achieve this “preferably” to give a “firm commitment”.

Treadell said that to be sure of reaching net zero by 2050 there needs to be “the means to measure progress,” which explains the “emphasis right now on the medium-term goals for 2030 and 2035.”

British High Commissioner in Australia, Vicki Treadell.
British High Commissioner in Australia, Vicki Treadell. Photograph: Lukas Coch / AAP

Treadell noted that the Australian government claims it will exceed its emission reduction target of 26-28%, arguing that “if there is an analysis of what the direction of travel is and what that level of increase will be, an interim target could be reestablished with that level of expectation ”.

Treadell said “now is the time” to raise emissions reduction targets. “National and international pressure on this has never been stronger. So either we seize the opportunity to move towards a low-emission, zero-emission future or we fall behind. “

“The world is moving in that direction and none of us want Australia to be left behind. Australia has enormous potential to be a leader in climate action. “

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On Wednesday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg appeared at a news conference along with the Minister for Emergency Management and Leader of the Senate Nationals, Bridget McKenzie, who earlier in the week indicted MPs from the slums without a plan to achieve a net zero of the “worst kind”. of emptiness about values ​​”

“It is easy for the Kooyong member or the Wentworth member to publicly adopt a net zero target before the government takes a position, because there would be almost no real impact on the way of life of their wealthy constituents,” he wrote. on the Australian Financial Review on Tuesday.

Frydenberg, who has upset his opponents in the National Party by articulating the economic case for zero net emissions, told reporters that the debate “should not be seen as a binary choice between city electorates … and regional electorates.”

On Wednesday, McKenzie revised his previous comments, suggesting that “there are MPs out there, Josh is not one of them, [Dave] Sharma [the member for Wentworth] They are not one of those who want to be cold about climate change, they want to be popular without understanding… the consequences of these decisions. “

The comments tone down McKenzie’s earlier intervention, shifting targets to involve independent MPs who challenge Liberals for their lack of climate action rather than their own Liberal Coalition colleagues.

Morrison has privately told Liberal MPs that despite public contention among Coalition partners on Net Zero, Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce was playing a positive role in the discussions.

On Wednesday, the New South Wales government, also a Liberal-National Coalition, increased pressure to set a more ambitious national climate goal by 2030 by promising to cut the state’s emissions in half this decade.

Morrison has also been under pressure to raise Australia’s ambition on his recent trip to the United States. Joe Biden has urged “all nations” to “bring their greatest possible ambitions to the table when we meet in Glasgow” for the November climate summit and “continue to increase our collective ambition over time.”

Former European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström warned that Australia is becoming “increasingly isolated” on climate action.

The Australian government is concerned that the new European Union carbon tariffs could affect Australian jobs, even though its main exports were largely spared from the plan’s first stage.

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