G20 Message to World Leaders: Don’t Let Australia Cheat on Climate Action and Wreck Glasgow COP26

To coincide with the G20 Summit in Rome 30-31 October, and COP26 in Glasgow which begins 31 October, the Australia Institute has placed several full-page advertisements to ask world leaders not to let Prime Minister Scott Morrison cheat on meaningful climate action.

Building on research showing a lack of evidence that the Federal Government is serious about emissions reduction, the advertisements identify that while the Government plots to double coal exports, open vast new gas fields and prop up coal generated power, any Net Zero by 2050 plan is a fraud if gas and coal are allowed to expand.

Key Federal Government decisions at odds with any Net Zero by 2050 target include:

  • The Morrison Government’s Net Zero by 2050 plan allows for an expansion of fossil fuels, will not be legislated, and relies on highly speculative technological advances to achieve its target
  • The Minister for Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, has declared he will use his attendance at Glasgow COP26 to spruik Australia as a ‘safe and reliable destination’ to invest in fossil fuels
  • Federal Environment Minister has approved a third new coal project, Mangoola Coal, in just one month
  • The Federal Government is opening up new gas fields that will all contribute significantly to Australia’s emissions profile, with proposed gas projects in Australia having an emissions profile of 329 million tonnes CO2e per annum – two-thirds of Australia’s annual emissions
    • Shale gas development in the Northern Territory alone could result in 100 million tonnes of emissions annually (counting scope 3 emissions) and just in Australia increase emissions by 40 million tonnes, which would increase Australia’s annual emissions by 8%
    • Woodside’s Scarborough Gas Field is equivalent to 15 new coal power plants and 1.6 billion tonnes of emissions (counting scope 3 emissons)
  • The Federal Government plans for new gas resources which have an emissions profile equivalent to more than 40 new coal mines
  • Federal Government pushing ahead with a proposal to subsidise coal fired electricity generation to keep it operating after it is no longer profitable
    Hydrogen funding under Australian Government policies includes fossil hydrogen with CCS known as ‘blue hydrogen’ and is even more polluting than burning the fossil fuel directly
  • Australian Government has broadened the remit of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency so that it can fund CCS projects and intends to do the same with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation

“The world is gathering in Glasgow in only a few days to increase efforts and targets until 2030, the decisive decade according to President Biden. The Prime Minister has missed the brief and is going to COP26 with an empty net zero by 2050 pledge with no immediate impact and every intention of expanding fossil fuel production,” said Richie Merzian, climate & energy program director at the Australia Institute.

“The chilly global reception to the Government’s hollow net zero by 2050 plan shows that the world has caught on to Scott Morrison’s announcements-over-action antics. It’s time for world leaders to draw a line in the sand: don’t let Australia cheat on climate change and wreck Glasgow COP26.

“Actions speak louder than words. The Australian Government has a track record of ‘meeting by cheating’ and another empty pledge reinforces this reputation. It was only at the last COP in 2019 that the Australian Government was accused of cheating its way through the Paris Agreement.

“To attempt to grandstand on the ‘quality’ of Australia’s carbon credits shows just how hollow this net zero plan is. Australia Institute research shows one in five carbon credits issued by the Federal Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund do not represent real abatement, and are essentially hot air.

“Without putting an end to new gas exploration and new coal mines such as the Adani mine and opening the Beetaloo Basin, and a transition plan to power our nation with renewable energy, any purported net zero by 2050 target is a fraud.”

The full page ads as they will appear in Italy’s Il Sole 24 Ore on Saturday 30 October, and Scotland’s The Sunday Post on Sunday 31 October and The Herald Monday 1 November are available below.

Ben Oquist, executive director of the Australia Institute is currently in Rome ahead of G20, and along with Richie Merzian, climate & energy director at the Australia Institute, will be in Glasgow for COP26.

Related documents

Il Sole 24 Ore full page ad

The Sunday Post & The Herald full page ad

Related research

General Enquiries

Tanya Martin Office Manager

02 6130 0530


Media Enquiries

Jake Wishart Senior Media Adviser

0413 208 134


RSS Feed

Media Releases