Australia’s embarrassing handbrake on local weather change ambitions


The standout Australian performer at COP26 has been the extremely popular espresso machine within the official pavilion. It attracts an appreciative line each hour. Australia has proven very excessive ambition with its espresso sport right here in Glasgow, assembly and beating its targets and receiving zero internet complaints from tons of of caffeine-hungry delegates.

Minister for Trade, Power and Emission Discount Angus Taylor on the Australian pavilion throughout COP26 in Glasgow.Credit score:Alex Ellinghausen

However all of the free espresso on this planet won’t cowl Australia’s utter failure to resolve the problem at this world local weather summit.

We’re proud to be Australian. Our brave nation has been the supply of many world-changing improvements. Australian ingenuity has helped battle cancers and restore listening to. It helps cut back the price of photo voltaic power. At our greatest, there is no such thing as a problem we will’t overcome. However in Glasgow at UN local weather talks, within the final two weeks, we have now felt embarrassed.

Australia’s intransigence on local weather makes us the outlier on the world stage, flocking to the wings. Virtually each comparable developed economic system has made a reputable dedication to scale back emissions by at the very least 50 p.c by 2030 and a transparent political imaginative and prescient to help it. We carried the “Australian Approach”: a bag of slogans delivered by the Prime Minister in an nearly empty corridor and Santos ’pop-up stand in our nationwide pavilion – a state-sponsored promotional alternative for a fossil gas big that expose the fraudulent. local weather “answer” which is the seize and storage of coal.

Fortuitously, many different nations have introduced their A sport to COP26, and there was loads within the final two weeks that has given us hope. The opening days noticed a sequence of recent agreements designed to speed up motion and assist preserve alive the final word purpose of limiting warming to 1.5 levels: from a brand new world dedication to decreasing methane emissions – a really highly effective greenhouse fuel – to enterprise on the coal part – out, deforestation, local weather finance and extra. Australia was evidently absent from most of those.

Tim Flannery and coal utilization expert Sophia Hamblin Wang at the Australian pavilion for COP26.

Tim Flannery and coal utilization knowledgeable Sophia Hamblin Wang on the Australian pavilion for COP26.Credit score:Alex Ellinghausen

At each COP there are moments when somebody manages to chop the noise with a brutally sincere and provocative speech or different intervention. This 12 months it was Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley who apologized to leaders for failing to dwell as much as the guarantees of the Paris Settlement, demanding that they “attempt more durable”. In an much more highly effective second, Tuvalu’s Minister of International Affairs, Simon Kofe, made a speech by video hyperlink – to a lectern, wearing costume and tie, whereas kneeling within the ocean. Sure, for its low-Pacific island nation, local weather change is an existential menace.

Earlier within the second week, Australian forest hearth survivor Jo Dodds held a press convention outdoors the Australian pavilion with Australian hearth survivors from america, Canada and Turkey.

When the talks enter their last sport, the information is of a brand new settlement between america and China, which – regardless of their variations – are dedicated to working collectively to speed up motion on local weather change. . One other signal that the world is shifting as Australia stops.


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