Contributed by Joe Montero
World leaders will soon be gathering in Glasgow Scotland, to talk about reaching an agreement on zero carbon emissions.
Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, who had no intention of going has been forced to go, by a tsunami of criticism from a quarters. The problems for him are public opinion, division within the government’s ranks, and the prospect of being pointed out for Australia’s failure to make a meaningful commitment.
Photo from the Australian: Scott Morrison is going to Glasgow
Not that Cop 26 climate conference (1 – 12 November 2021) is likely to be much of an advance on the inadequate global action so far. The general expectation is a lot of talk, fine phrases, and little real commitment to concrete action.
It is telling that the Australian government can’t even meet this low standard.
The failure of the word’s leaders to date, stands at odds with what the populations of the countries they are supposed to represent want. Polls are speaking with one voice. Big majorities want far more done to reduce carbon emissions and a decisive turn towards building sustainable economies.
Nothing could prove more clearly that leaders like these, are not acting for those who are supposed to have elected them to office. This is not democracy. It’s control by an elite of billionaires, politicians and functionaries holding onto the power.
Australia is just like this, except worse than many, which explains the extent of deceit and failure to act. Our Prime Minister claims to be moving towards zero while carbon emissions are on the rise – and he sells a carbon led economic recovery for the nation.
Like in other countries, up to 75 percent of the Australian population, polls reveal, wants far more done to avoid serious climate warming damage. A major social movement for change has emerged and is getting stronger and asserting political pressure. Enough to force political leaders to look like they’re taking notice This causes cracks in political parties. Thus, the division in the Liberal Party and between the Liberals and Nationals.
Scott Morrison and those around him are busy trying to stitch up an illusion. A deal looks like being reached between the two parties. There will be a lot of talk about reaching zero by 2050, but with flexibility in the short term and built in (“safety-valve mechanism”) escape clauses.
Although no policy document has been released yet, we know it will have these caveats in it.
Current policy is to reduce emissions by only 26-28 percent of 2005 by 2030, and it has been widely criticised for not being enough to match what the science says is necessary for any meaningful impact. There is no shift in this with the new deal.
Billboard in new York’s Time Square calling for more action from Australia
It is a very uncomfortable position for the Prime Minister and his government to be in. Chances are it won’t please anyone and it looks weak from any point of view. Morrison and company will be hoping they can fool us into believing that there has been a major shift and get them off the hook.
No credence should be given the pretence of a new policy. The key is to go a long way towards zero by 2030 and to partner with other nations to assist those less able to make a quick transition. Both are still missing.
All is bound with the importance of ensuring the livelihood of all. There can be no shift to zero emissions without sufficient action to create new and decent permanent jobs and protect working conditions, income, healthcare, education, transport, and other vita needs. A sustainable economy is an economy for all. Where are the measures to make sure all this happens?
These are the issues for Australia and the world. They are what will rise to the surface in Glasgow, and it won’t be left to be monopolised by the political elite. Unions, environment, and community organisations will raise their voices at the official Cop 26. They will take part in a range of alternative events in Glasgow. More is happening in other cities across the planet.
A series of events are taking pace across Australia from this week on. Two examples are preliminary online events by Friends Of the Earth on 25 October in Melbourne and the LIFE Campaign on 27 October.
Five young Australians, including members of First Nations and disability communities, have lodged three human rights complaints with the United Nations over what they claim is the Morrison government’s inaction on climate. They argue that the Australian government’s 2030 emissions reduction target fails to uphold the rights of every young person in Australia.
More will be happening after Glasgow.
There is a chance that some governments will lift the game and contribute to the changing tide. Change will come. It will be brought about when enough people stand up and help to bring it about.
Glasgow can be a significant as a platform to build momentum for the growing movement.