As his government continues to be chastised for its poor climate record, Australia’s prime leader has indicated that he may not attend the UN’s major climate summit in November.
Scott Morrison indicated in an interview that he had “not made any final choices” about going, implying that it would be a hardship.
He told the West Australian newspaper, “It’s another journey overseas… and I’ve spent a lot of time in quarantine.”
The COP26 conference will be the most important international climate discussions in years.
The 12-day conference of world leaders in Glasgow, Scotland, is expected to establish new emissions guidelines to curb global warming and keep temperature rises below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Mr Morrison, on the other hand, indicated he would examine other priorities, such as reopening Australia’s borders.
“I need to concentrate on what’s going on here and with Covid. Around that time, Australia will start opening up. There will be many difficulties to deal with, and I’ll have to balance conflicting demands “‘I told the press,’ he said.
One of the world’s major coal and gas exporters, Australia is one of 200 nations scheduled to present their revised 2030 emissions reduction plans at the meeting.
Mr Morrison has stated that he wants Australia to reach net zero emissions “as quickly as feasible,” but has not provided any details on how this would be accomplished.
His administration has avoided committing to net zero emissions by 2050, despite the fact that the United States, the United Kingdom, and many other industrialized countries have already committed to this target.
Australia has long been chastised for its sluggish climate progress and excessive reliance on coal-fired power, despite the fact that it is the world’s most carbon polluting country per capita.
Canberra is also fiercely protective of its fossil fuel industry, promising to keep mining and selling filthy fuels as long as Asian demand exists.
In July, a United Nations survey placed it last out of 170 member countries in terms of climate change response.
Despite Australia’s assertions to the contrary, the UN has already said that the country is not on track to meet its modest Paris Agreement objectives of a 26-28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.
Australian Government Will Strive To Be Present
Mr Morrison, who took over as Prime Minister in 2018, has defended Australia’s climate policy as appropriate.
During the 2019-2020 summer, the country was hit by a devastating fire season, during which Mr Morrison was chastised for downplaying the significance of climate change and vacationing in Hawaii with his family during the height of the crisis.
He has traveled overseas many times this year, notably to the G7 conference held by the United Kingdom in June and to Washington for the Quad meeting with the presidents of the United States, India, and Japan in recent days.
On Monday, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said that even if Mr Morrison did not attend, the meeting would still include top level presence.
“It isn’t a case of being absent from the conference. Regardless of whatever senior Australian official attends the conference, Australia will be well-represented, and our commitment is unmistakable “She told ABC News.