Guest essay by Eric Worrall
A few days ago, Nancy Pelosi praised Aussie PM Scott Morrison for “Leading the Way” on climate action. Now, just a few days later, ScoMo is considering not attending COP26, and a group of diplomats are warning “climate inertia” is undermining Australia’s international reputation.
Scott Morrison may snub the COP26 climate talks as Australia becomes more isolated
Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT) September 27, 2021
(CNN)Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Monday he might not show up at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow this November, as his government becomes increasingly isolated in international efforts on the crisis.
More than 100 world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, have confirmed their attendance at the talks hosted by the United Kingdom, a close ally of Australia. Leaders of the G20, which includes Australia, will be convening in Rome a day ahead of the climate talks. While it is not yet confirmed if Morrison will be at that summit, many G20 leaders are likely to take the short flight from the Italian capital to COP26 in Scotland.
“We haven’t made any final decisions about (attending COP26). I mean it is another trip overseas and I’ve been on several this year and spent a lot of time in quarantine,” Morrison told the West Australian newspaper.
Morrison said he needed to focus on the country’s reopening after an extended lockdown. His government is aiming to relax its hardline border restrictions in December.
“Australia will be opening up around that time, there will be a lot of issues to manage and I have to manage those competing demands,” he said.
The diplomats warning on Australia’s “climate inertia”;
Coalition inertia on climate undermines Australia’s credibility in region, ex-diplomats warn
The group, including former ambassadors and high commissioners, says urgent action is an ‘ethical and moral responsibility towards future generations’
A group of 70 former diplomats has warned the Morrison government that failing to sign up to a commitment of net zero emissions by 2050 imperils Australia’s strategic interests and “undermines our credibility as a regional partner”.
The group has written to the prime minister and relevant portfolio ministers arguing that a scientific consensus about the risks associated with runaway global heating renders urgent policy action an “ethical and moral responsibility towards future generations”.
“As former diplomats we are deeply concerned that Australia’s key strategic and economic interests are at risk because of our failure to date to commit to a target of net zero emissions by 2050,” the joint letter says.
“This lack of commitment is particularly concerning to those regional partners for whom climate change already poses a clear existential threat. The United States and other key partners in Europe and around the globe are increasingly voicing concerns that Australia is not pulling its weight on climate action.”
“We fear this inertia will undermine many of the strong international relationships we have built up over decades,” the letter says.
While metropolitan Liberals want the government to adopt the mid-century target, and two senior ministers, Josh Frydenberg and Simon Birmingham have argued the economic case to sign up – ructions continue in the junior Coalition partner.
Some Nationals are implacably opposed to net zero. On Sunday, the Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud said he expected any colleagues who opposed net zero to fall into line if the party room ultimately adopted the commitment.
I can understand why Aussie Prime Minister Scott Morrison is undecided about attending COP26.
Barnaby Joyce, deputy Prime Minister and leader of the junior coalition partner National Party, recently stated he will not support legislation which harms coal mining jobs.
With the nationals thankfully digging their heels in on this issue, all that would be left for Aussie Prime Minister Scott Morrison to do at COP26, would be to keep apologising to everyone, and explaining that he is powerless to change anything.
h/t Bob Tisdale – Australia’s Sky News Andrew Bolt expressing concern Scott Morrison could cave on setting climate targets and attacking the coal industry, criticising Britain’s self inflicted energy crisis, and criticising academic and media indoctrination of young people.