After the COP26 climate talks ended in Glasgow, Australia has again proved itself to be a climate laggard on the world stage. Prime Minister Scott Morrison may be a marketing supremo, but he can’t get his way out of his government’s failures.
In fact, it is baffling that the prime minister thinks his new commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 will be enough to warrant a plane ticket to Scotland.
But while Morrison doesn’t understand – or doesn’t care – what is required of Australia under the 2015 Paris Agreement, and what is at stake in COP26, the refusal to meet emissions reductions is backfired. Is.
Announcing his net zero commitment last month, Morrison declared that “Australians will have their own way by 2050 and we’ll set it up here for Australians by Australians.” It was also the message he took to the world stage at COP26, where he called his policy of “no technology tax” the core of the “Australian way”.
Climate negotiations in most countries have a pavilion, where they host events and demonstrate their efforts to negotiators and observers. The Morrison government appeared to mistake COP26 for a fossil fuel expo – its pavilion branded as “Positive Energy the Australian Way” touted fossil fuels and carbon capture and storage.
In Glasgow, the Morrison government also stuck with its 2030 target set in 2015 by the Abbott government, making it a peak among developed nations. It also refused to join a pledge to reduce methane emissions and phase out coal.
Morrison set the tone at the G20 meeting in Rome, days before Glasgow, when Australia joined China and India in blocking a proposed coal phase-out. Resources Minister Keith Pitt has since made the government’s position clear: Australia will continue to export coal for decades.
Australia already had a bad reputation
Australia already had a reputation for “gaming” the processes of carbon accounting. But Morrison took constructive carbon accounting to a new level at US President Joe Biden’s climate summit in April.
Seasoned climate analysts were shocked at the metrics used, such as excluding emissions associated with extracting fossil fuels for export. It breaks with the official method for measuring all emissions produced within a country’s territory.
Read more: Pay attention to what unfolds at COP26 in Glasgow – the world may still freeze global heating by 1.5℃
At COP26, the Morrison government increased the size of its climate finance – to help Pacific and Southeast Asian neighbors with the impacts of climate change – from $500 million to A$2 billion over the next five years. However, this is well short of Australia’s fair share of US$2.9 billion (A$3.96 billion) per year based on responsibility, economic potential and population.
Apart from the Trump administration, Australia is the only developed country since 2018 that has refused to channel its climate finance through the multilateral Green Climate Fund. According to Donor Tracker, in recent years, Australia’s climate-related aid has had a “cross-cutting objective” and none of it went to projects that address climate change as a “main goal”.
The annual climate COP is, among other things, a global “show and tell”. The problem for Australia is that they had nothing to show, and nothing to say can make up for that shortfall. As the UK’s chief climate adviser Lord John Debane told ABC this week, “it was just a whole series of words”, with no sense of “the urgency of what we have to do”.
Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama tried a different strategy. At COP26, after urging Morrison to halve Australia’s emissions by 2030, he handed them “a copy of Fiji’s Climate Change Act as a guide – it’s a great way of science to keep trust with future generations.” We have a uniquely Fijian way to follow”.
The rise of “scorecard diplomacy” based on ratings and rankings of national climate performance has also made marketing cover-ups impossible.
Prominent examples include the Climate Action Tracker, which rated Australia’s overall performance as “highly inadequate”, and the Climate Performance Index, which ranked Australia in seventh place – and behind Russia – announced at COP26 this week. in the most recent assessment.
The “Fossil of the Day” award is given to the parties “making the most effort to achieve the least” in annual climate negotiations. Organized by Climate Action Network International, made up of more than 1,500 environmental groups from around 140 countries, they are a talk-of-the-talk among negotiators. So far at COP26, Australia has won five fossil prizes, more than any other country.
This includes the award of the “Low Goal” on the first day of COP26.
Australia, we’ve been expecting some subliminal behavior from you on climate change, but this time you’ve really outdone yourself.
flying in front of paris
The Morrison government’s insistence on its 2030 target is not only against the targets and rules, but also against the core equity principles of the Paris Agreement.
These principles require developed countries to play a leading role in climate mitigation in line with their greater historical responsibility and economic capabilities. They also need to mobilize climate finance to support mitigation and adaptation in countries with minimal responsibility for emissions, high vulnerability and vulnerable potential.
The Morrison government lives in a parallel universe to the Paris Agreement in defense of the “Australian way”. This notation can only mean one of two things.
The first is that if we want to stop warming to the 1.5℃ needed this century, the rest of the world, including poor countries, must compensate by bearing much of Australia’s burden. The second is that the government is not interested in “keeping 1.5℃ alive”, on the assumption that Australia can adapt to a warming world and not take care of the enormous suffering elsewhere.
Commitments and performance (not branding)
In international climate politics, a country’s reputation is determined by the credibility of commitments and performance over time with respect to collective goals, principles and rules negotiated by the parties.
This is not a brand or image that can be built in Canberra and then marketed to the world like Vegemite.
Australia’s COP26 diplomacy is further damaging its reputation. There is growing anger from developing countries, which constitute most of the world’s states.
There is also deep concern in our regions, among the Pacific countries, where Australia is an increasingly awkward partner. Tuvalu’s Foreign Minister Simon Kofe filmed his COP26 speech standing thigh-high in the ocean.
Even Australia’s closest allies, the United States and the United Kingdom, are dismayed by our government’s insistence.
free ride will end
Australia’s free ride will end sooner or later, as our trading partners consider imposing carbon tariffs and shrinking coal and gas export markets.
Read more: Australia is undermining the Paris Agreement, whatever Morrison says – we need new laws to stop it
However, when we ask for the cooperation of others, the reputational damage resulting from Australia’s great refusal can haunt us. As the oceans rise, Australians should also worry that Fiji sent military engineers during the Black Summer Fire of 2019-2020.
We will not be able to count on this kind of help in the future.
This article is republished from – The Conversation – Read the – original article.