As Prime Minister Scott Morrison jets into Glasgow he faces renewed pressure to increase short term targets and phase out coal power.
As the UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa said in her COP26 opening remarks, “we need even more ambition and all nations on board, especially the highest emitters in the G20 responsible for around 80 per cent of global emissions.”
Prime Minister Morrison is set to be greeted in Glasgow by full-page advertisements in Scottish newspapers featuring a photo of him in parliament with a lump of coal, and imploring world leaders not to let Australia wreck the Glasgow climate talks.
“The Prime Minister must explain to its ‘forever friends’ the UK and US, and an increasingly sceptical global audience, how it is possible that Australia’s recent net zero plan not only allows new gas and coal projects, but paves the way for dozens more,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at The Australia Institute.
“If COP26 fails to bridge the gap in ambition, then Prime Minister Scott Morrison will rightly share the blame.
“The Australian Government is being perceived as a protector and promoter of coal. Australia is unwittingly providing cover to other G20 major emitters like China and Brazil, that are also refusing to increase short term targets and efforts.
“The Australian Prime Minister is increasingly isolated from its friends. We’ve seen recent announcements to increase 2030 targets from South Korea and New Zealand, joining the ambition of the US, UK, EU, Canada and Japan.
“The UK is pulling out all stops to make COP26 impactful and is struggling to find support from its ally and friend Australia. Instead of joining the UK in consigning coal power to history, Australia wants to subsidise coal power indefinitely.
“The world has seen through the Australian Government’s net zero target. 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, Australia’s net zero by 2050 target is a fraud.”