A Leaked Email Alleges That The Morrison Government Axed Climate Goals In A UK Trade Deal

Australia reportedly forced the UK to "drop climate asks" to get the deal over the line.

Climate Change UK

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The UK allegedly removed vital climate commitments to appease the Morrison Government during ongoing free trade deal negotiations between the two countries. The post-Brexit trade deal was loosely agreed to in June is set to be finalised in the coming few weeks.

A leaked email sent last month reportedly revealed British officials gave permission to “drop both of the climate asks” to get the deal over the line. This notably includes removing specific Paris Agreement temperature targets of lowering temperatures to at least 1.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels.

“The Australian government said they would not sign a trade agreement if those [climate goals] were in the trade deal,” Executive Director of Greenpeace UK John Sauven told the ABC.

A spokesperson for the British government denied the claims, and assisted both countries are trying to uphold their respective Paris Agreement goals. “Any suggestion the deal won’t sign up to these vital commitments is completely untrue,” they said.

At the same time, Australia’s Minister for Trade Dan Tehan hasn’t denied the allegations when asked to respond. He told The Guardian that “our technology-not-taxes approach to addressing climate change is delivering results” and all Australia’s free trade agreements “should focus on international cooperation, and meeting existing multilateral environment agreements”.

Scott Morrison’s lacking commitment to climate change has become more of a concern after the release to the IPCC report in August, where he refused to agree to targets without a gas-led recovery plan to somehow get there.

The news comes two months ahead of the Glasgow climate change summit where world leaders will discuss the path towards urgent climate action. On Monday, a UN climate official demanded Australia to have a “more honest and rational conversation” about its dependence on the coal industry.

“If the world does not rapidly phase out coal, climate change will wreak havoc right across the Australian economy,” Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action Selwin Hart said.