Contributed from Victoria
The world’s eyes have turned to Australia over the climate crisis. Not in a good way. Scott Morrison has ensured that Australia be the mischief maker against a meaningful global agreement to curb carbon emissions.
On the lead up to the COP26 talks in Glasgow later this year, Australia has been caught lobbying the British government to drop key climate commitments. This has been noticed by the world.
Scott Morrison with British prime minister Boris Johnson
Continuing climate inaction and a government acting as a platform for the fossil fuel industry’s efforts to maintain carbon dependency will invite retaliation. It’s only a matter of time. Expect a growing list of countries to become increasingly reluctant to indulge in trade.
Even without this, as other nations move forward towards a transition, Australia will be left further and further behind. A senior United Nations official warned last week that going down this road will “wreak havoc” on Australia’s economy.
Australia’s government is taking no notice and shaping up to be the pariah at COP 26 (31 October and 12 November 2021).
Pressure is building on the nations attending to do what it takes to limit global warming to 1.5C and set a firm date to achieve zero net emissions. Australia is expected to oppose both, ignoring the recent United Nations state of the science report, which found that Australia is already experiencing more heat extremes and higher sea level rises than the global average
The Morrison government has pledged to reduce carbon emissions to 28 percent of the 3005 level by 2030. This sits well below commitments already given by developed nations, including the European Union, the United States and Great Britain as well as many rising developing nations like China, India, and South Korea.
Australia’s fossil fuel experts are a major part of the world’s carbon creation, and if rising temperatures are going to be kept to anywhere near below the point of catastrophe, this has got to stop.
The point of significant climate change has already come, bringing more drought, heatwaves, forest fires, devastating storms, unprecedented flooding, and rising sea levels. The Gulf stream has slowed to add further chaos, and it might be that climate warming is contributing to the risk of pandemics.
Extreme weather is already a reality
Scientists have warned that 2C may be enough to accelerate large scale extinctions, and if there is not enough action soon, the Earth will get hotter than 2C, bringing on mass extinctions, and for humanity, food and water insecurity, alongside economic and social collapse.
Australia’s intransigence takes attention away from the reality that most nations are still not doing enough. The world’s oldest and biggest industrial economies have contributed most of the damage. They have the greatest responsibility. Developing nations need help to transition. Only through united effort and lifting the ambitions to dicarbon will the solution be found.
It is no longer enough to limit to net zero. The new target must aim at reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, if there is going to be any chance of not passing beyond the 4C threshold.
As representatives of the world’s nations meet, others, ranging from unions to climate activist and community organisations will be holding their own conference, and organising rallies and other activities in Glasgow and many other cities around the world.
Their intention is to both pressure COP26 do agree to more and build the climate action movement to a new level.