Australia branded worst climate performer ahead of UN summit

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Australia is among comparable developed countries since nations pledged in the 2015 Paris Agreement to take action to limit global warming, a think tank said on Thursday ahead of a major climate conference in Scotland later this month. was the worst climate performer.

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The United Nations summit in Glasgow, known as COP26, will bring together thousands of diplomats, scientists and environmental campaigners to assess progress since the Paris Agreement on limiting temperatures below 2 °C (3.6 °F). The nations had agreed to The meeting in Glasgow is widely seen as the last opportunity to keep global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison plans to attend the convention starting October 31, but lawmakers in his governing coalition are debating the adoption of a tougher national carbon reduction target.


Morrison wants to commit Australia to reducing carbon emissions to near zero by 2050, but some MPs from the National Party, a junior coalition ally of the conservative government, are opposing.

“Australia is in a dead spot among comparable nations (in) by cutting emissions – by addressing the climate challenge at its source,” the Climate Council report said. The council is an independently funded non-profit that replaced the Climate Commission, a publicly funded agency that was abolished in 2013 by the newly elected Conservative government of which Morrison was a cabinet minister.

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The report ranked Australia last among 31 wealthy, developed countries on the criteria for emissions reduction performance and commitments.

Britain was first, followed by Switzerland and Sweden. The United States was ranked 23rd.

Australia was last tied with Canada in terms of fossil fuel extraction and use. Next from the bottom was Norway, then the United States. The Czech Republic finished first, with Sweden and Switzerland in second place.

Major emitters including China, India and Russia were not included in the tables.

Morrison is unlikely to persuade his allies to agree a more ambitious 2030 target before heading to Glasgow.

Australia has called for its 2015 resolution in Paris to reduce emissions by 26% to 28% from 2005 levels by 2030, despite many countries adopting far more ambitious targets.

The Climate Council has recommended that Australia reduce emissions by 75% from 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2035.

Australian emissions from electricity have increased by a third since 1990, while transport emissions have increased by more than half, the report said.

If Australia achieves its current 2030 goals, progress will be mostly achieved through land clearing and other land use changes, climate council research chief Simon Bradshaw told the Associated Press.

“Now, of course, is important, but it’s really no substitute for stopping emissions at their source,” Bradshaw said.

Emission reduction is a politically fraught issue in Australia, one of the world’s largest exporters of coal and liquefied natural gas. The country is one of the world’s worst greenhouse gas emitters per capita due to its heavy reliance on coal-fired electricity.


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