Australia backs deal, Morrison government refuses to update on 2030 climate target

An agreement was reached at the end of the global climate peak, but there were tears and apologies like India and China combined to weaken the promise to end coal power.

The final statement calls on countries, such as Australia, to do more by 2030, which the Morrison government says it will not do.

After a grueling fortnight and last-minute negotiations at the COP26 Glasgow summit, government negotiators from nearly 200 countries adopted a new agreement on climate action, which the federal government welcomed.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison makes the statement of Australia to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland, on Monday 1 November 2021. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen (Sydney Morning Herald)

“How can anyone expect developing countries to make promises about the removal of coal and fossil fuel subsidies?” India’s environment minister, Bhupender Yadav, asked.

The words coal have been slammed at the last minute by China and India from “phasing out” to “phasing out”, referring to “incessant coal power” and “inefficient subsidies of fossil fuels”.

Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Angus Taylor
Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Angus Taylor. (Alex Ellinghausen)

The deadline to achieve net zero emissions is not 2050 but “around the middle of the century” and the statement “calls for” but does not require countries like Australia to “revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets” by the end of next year.

The minute-to-night coal settlement was a bitter disappointment for British summit leader, COP26 President Alok Sharma.

“I apologize for the way this process has unfolded and I deeply regret it. I also understand the deep disappointment,” Mr Sharma said.

In Australia, the focus will now be on short-term goals.

“Australia is now under tremendous pressure to raise its 2030 targets next year and come up with a plan to get out of coal and gas,” said Greens leader Adam Bandt.

The federal government says it will not falter in its 2030 target of reducing emissions by 26 to 28 percent lowered to 2005 levels.

Delegates greet each other during the Closing Plenary of the COP26 Climate Summit. (Getty)

“We have set our goal. What we will continue to do is update our projections,” said Health Minister Greg Hunt, referring to the government’s claim that it will achieve 35 percent emission reductions by 2030.

The government says it is committed to investing more than $ 21 billion in the next generation of low-emission technologies, aiming to drive up to $ 120 billion of total public and private investment in Australia by 2030.

Labor says the climate summit was a national embarrassment.

“Australia’s report card is a definite failure,” said opposition leader Anthony Albanese.

With an election ahead of May, Mr Albanese is under pressure to deliver on Labor’s goal, something he will argue can deliver benefits.

“We can be a renewable energy superpower for the world, all it requires is government leadership,” he said.

The Coalition’s re-election prospects look much worse if it talks about climate change until next year’s election.

With consumers in a billion-dollar post-locked spending, the government will now throw all its effort into talking about the economy.

Large rivers of melting water drain into mounds that drain into the ocean from under the ice.

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“Confidence is rising, spending is rising, jobs are returning, optimism is in the air and Australians can look forward to a great Christmas,” said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers said labeling trust as a recovery is a step too far.

“It’s not a recovery if ordinary working people are left behind, it’s not a recovery that working families can’t get ahead of,” Mr. Chalmers said.

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