Defensive PM as its allies step up climate targets | Liverpool City Champion


Scott Morrison continues to champion Australia’s progress on climate action as the nation’s greatest allies step up their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Prime Minister joined other world leaders in the early hours of Friday morning at a virtual climate summit hosted by US President Joe Biden.

It marked Mr. Biden’s return to the international arena after his predecessor withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement.

Mr Biden kicked off the summit by announcing that the United States would aim to halve its greenhouse gas emissions, from 2005 levels, by 2030.

Japan, Canada and Brazil have also announced more ambitious goals, with pressure on countries to come to the table with bolder plans of action at a major UN meeting on the climate throughout november.

Mr Morrison did not mention the deadly bushfires, flooding, drought or Australia’s Pacific island neighbors – which have long called on him to step up his climate commitments – during his brief speech.

Rather, he spoke of Australia’s achievements in reducing emissions while thanking some of the biggest polluters for their work towards achieving net zero.

“In Australia, our journey to net zero is being led by pioneering world-class Australian companies such as Fortescue – led by Dr Andrew Forrest – Visy, BHP, Rio Tinto, AGL and many more of all sizes,” said Mr. Morrison said.

Ahead of the summit, he announced more than $ 1 billion for initiatives to reduce emissions, including carbon capture and storage.

Mr Morrison reiterated on Friday that he was not interested in when the goals were to be set, but how they were achieved.

“We are working on our plan, in Australia’s national interest,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“If we expect developing economies to change what they do, then we need to be able to provide the commercial technology that allows them to make that change.

“It won’t come because some politicians sit in a room and say certain things.”

Australia’s emissions have recently fallen due to an increase in renewables as well as a reduction in transport due to the coronavirus and the effect of drought on agriculture.

The United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, a goal to which the federal government has not made a firm commitment.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese says it is a disappointing situation.

“Australia is seen with Saudi Arabia and Brazil, and countries like that, as being no match for us,” he told reporters in the Victoria area.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the United States had put major economies on notice to mobilize ahead of the UN summit.

“The fact that the United States’ target is almost twice as ambitious as Australia’s, and the UK’s three times as ambitious, shows how isolated we have become.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg described Australia’s 2030 target – a reduction of 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels – as a “very important commitment”.

The government will unveil a long-term strategy ahead of the UN summit, which could include a bolder target for 2030.

Australian Associated Press

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