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In the naughty corner: UN snubs Australia for dragging its feet on climate change

  • December 14 2020
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In the naughty corner: UN snubs Australia for dragging its feet on climate change

By Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
December 14 2020

Scott Morrison wasn’t among the 70 world leaders speaking at the UN’s Climate Ambition Summit over the weekend due to Australia's “stubborn refusal” to up its climate ambitions – an attitude that is expected to pose significant costs to the Aussie economy.

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In the naughty corner: UN snubs Australia for dragging its feet on climate change

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  • December 14 2020
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Scott Morrison wasn’t among the 70 world leaders speaking at the UN’s Climate Ambition Summit over the weekend due to Australia's “stubborn refusal” to up its climate ambitions – an attitude that is expected to pose significant costs to the Aussie economy.

climate change

The Morrison government failed to secure a speaking spot at the the UN’s virtual Climate Action Summit, which took place over the weekend, just days after the PM said he would be there to “correct the record”.

It is believed that Mr Morrison’s plans to unveil Australia’s intention to ditch the use of Kyoto carryover credits to meet its Paris Agreement commitments were not deemed significant enough to warrant a speaking spot.

“I wish them well for the summit. I’m sure it’ll be very nice,” the PM said on Friday, after it was revealed he would not be among the 70 world leaders to speak at the summit.

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After being booted from the UN summit, the PM attended the Pacific Islands Forum on Friday, where he refused to formally commit to cutting emissions by 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030. Mr Morrison also refused to agree to aim for net zero emissions by 2050, instead telling the forum Australia is "committed to achieving net zero emissions as soon as possible". 

Commenting on Australia’s UN snub, Professor Tim Flannery, Chief Climate Councillor, scientist and former Australian of the Year said: “With all our major trading partners and strategic allies now stepping up their commitments to climate action, Australia faces a diplomatic firestorm, not to mention decades of economic fallout, if it fails to act.”

Similarly, Professor Lesley Hughes, Climate Councillor and climate scientist, opined that the PM’s expectations were ill founded.

“The Morrison government announcing it will not use dodgy Kyoto ‘carryover credits’ to meet its Paris target is like your child looking for praise after coming home from school and telling you they decided not to cheat in their exams. This is not enough to convince the international community we are serious.”

Nicki Hutley, Climate Councillor, economist and partner at Deloitte, said that while Australia has clearly been banished to the “naughty corner”, the country’s climate inaction carries a significant cost.

“Australia has a long way to go. This summit needs to bring about more action. If we don’t do something now, we will have huge economic disruptions.

“By acting on climate change, we can create new jobs, set up clean export industries for the future, and a prosperous economy,” said Mr Hutley.

Last month, Deloitte Access Economics warned that the Australian economy could lose $3 trillion and 880,000 workers over the next 50 years if climate change is not addressed.

“If you think COVID is awful, then you should be prepared to fight against an even bigger threat. COVID shows the cost of overlooking catastrophic risks. So, it’s an urgent wake-up call for us to get ahead of that other big risk – climate change,” Deloitte’s chief economist, Chris Richardson, said.

In the naughty corner: UN snubs Australia for dragging its feet on climate change
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About the author

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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of nestegg and Smart Property Investment. Email Maja at [email protected]

About the author

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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of nestegg and Smart Property Investment. Email Maja at [email protected]

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