PM to attend Glasgow as government finalising new climate policy

By Jackson Graham

Monday October 18, 2021

Scott Morrison says he will attend the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties
Scott Morrison says he will attend the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

Prime minister Scott Morrison says he will attend the United Nations climate change summit in the UK in the coming weeks, ending uncertainty about whether he would go.

But the Nationals say they won’t be rushed after receiving the details of a new climate policy at a party meeting on Sunday as the departure of Morrison nears. 

Key to the plan is pressure on the government to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. 

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce said the party would not agree with increasing the 2030 target but was facing a decision over a 2050 target. 

He said the party would not support a plan that adversely affected regional areas. 

“We will do our job because the mail even on my behalf that I get back in New England, is they say ‘we want really stringent oversight of this. We want you to do your job’. And to be quite frank you are not going to do that on four hours on a Sunday night,” Joyce said on Monday morning. 

“As of last night people have further to go.”

Morrison said the challenge was not about “’if” and “when” but how Australia reached the “important environmental goal”. 

“I’m very focused on the how, because the global changes that are happening in our economy as a result of the response to climate change have a real impact, and they will have a real impact here in Australia,” Morrison said.

“The plan that I’m taking forward, together with my colleagues, is about ensuring that our regions are strong, that our regions’ jobs are not only protected, but they have opportunities for the future.” 

Australia currently has a commitment for emissions to drop 26% to 28% by 2030 on 2005 levels but unlike the US and the UK, Australia does not have a commitment to reach net zero by 2050. 

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg last month shifted towards making the economic case for net-zero emissions by 2050, while Nationals MPs have shown division over targets affecting regional electorates. 

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties — or COP26 — starts on October 31 in Glasgow. 

So far, about 100 political heads of government have confirmed they will attend the conference. 

Australia was due to have government representatives attend the conference but Morrison had left it unclear whether he would attend until he announced his intention on Friday. 

Morrison would not be drawn on whether the government would be taking a clear emissions target to the conference. 

“Our position will be set out before I leave for Glasgow,” he said. 


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