All The Times Australia Was The Laughing Stock Of The World At COP26
Going to a climate conference and spruiking the benefits of fossil fuels was a slick move.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference — COP26 — has come to an end today after almost two weeks of world leaders discussing the imminent threat of climate change, and how to fix it.
And despite the fact that our own Prime Minister Scott Morrison didn’t even stay for the entire conference, he managed to make himself — and Australia — the laughing stock of the world on numerous occasions.
So, in honour of the fact that Morrison actually made half an effort to attend (most of) the conference in person, let’s take a gander at how Australia looks to the rest of the world following the event.
Sir David Attenborough Read Us To Absolute Filth
Before COP26 even kicked off, everyone’s favourite natural historian Sir David Attenborough slammed Australia’s plan for net-zero by 2050, claiming that wealthier nations have a “moral responsibility” to do more.
“There are still people in North America, there are still people in Australia who say ‘no, no, no, no, of course, it’s very unfortunate that there was that forest fire that absolutely demolished, incinerated that village, but it’s a one-off,’” he told the BBC shortly before COP26 kicked off. “Particularly if it’s going to cost money in the short term, the temptation is to deny the problem and pretend it’s not there.
“But every month that passes, it becomes more and more incontrovertible, the changes to the planet that we are responsible for that are having these devastating effects.”
Australia Asked To Be More Ambitious On 2030 Emissions
A draft of the final negotiations from COP26 — released earlier this week — has named and shamed Australia as one of a handful of countries that will be used to set new (see: better) plans to reduce emissions by 2030 ahead of next year’s event.
The document asks nations to “revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their nationally determined contributions, as necessary to align with the Paris Agreement temperature goal by the end of 2022”.
As it currently stands, Australia has refused to increase its 2030 target, despite mounting pressure.
Angus Taylor Went All The Way To Glasgow To Spruik Fossil Fuels
In news that is shockingly not brought to you by the Betoota Advocate, Australia’s minister for emissions reduction Angus Taylor flew the whole way to Glasgow for COP26 to give a speech that quite literally promoted how Australia is investing even more money in fossil fuels.
“Let me tell you why this is so important, why a seemingly arcane topic like carbon credits really matters and why our Plan is for net-zero, not zero,” he told the audience. “Australia is the world’s fourth-largest energy exporter — we’ve specialised in the production of energy and emissions-intensive commodities across sectors like mining and agriculture.
“Today, those exports are worth around a quarter of Gross National Income, and they are growing fast…and those exports are a big deal in our Indo-Pacific region, too, with Australia being one of the largest and most reliable suppliers of energy, resources and agricultural products.”
Our Carbon Capture Display Was Sponsored By Santos
In addition to Taylor’s promotion of fossil fuels, the major display at Australia’s pavilion at the conference was quite literally sponsored by Santos — one of the leading oil and gas producers in the APAC region.
Santos’ $220 million project — to be based in Moomba, South Australia — was announced last Tuesday after being approved for carbon credit revenue from taxpayers.
“Look at the Australian stand – you’ve got a gas company highlighted apparently at the insistence of the Energy Minister, who thinks that our energy policy should be all about burning gas,” former PM Malcolm Turnbull told reporters in Glasgow. “The whole object is to stop burning fossil fuels.”
Thankfully, the stand was later removed after the internet rightfully slammed the Morrison Government for the awful decision.
— Anna Freeman (@FreeAnna1) November 3, 2021
Australia Ranks Last In Climate Policy Index
In the midst of COP26, the annual Climate Change Performance Index was released, proving to Australians — and the rest of the world — that our net-zero plans are worth less than the paper they’re printed on.
Australia ranked dead last on climate action policy, and 55th overall out of the 63 nations surveyed.
“The government does not have any policies on phasing out coal or gas, but CCUS [carbon capture, utilisation and storage] and hydrogen are being promoted as low-emissions technologies,” the report said of Australia. “Even though the renewables electricity is growing, the experts believe that Australia has failed to take advantage of its potential, and other countries have outpaced it.”
Scott Morrison Proposes We “Tackle China”
In a glorious Freudian slip, Scott Morrison asserted that nations must band together because we need “global momentum to tackle China”, when he really meant “climate change.”
A faux pas from the PM? Scott Morrison appears to say "global momentum to tackle 'China'" instead of 'climate change' before correcting himself, in his address to #COP26 @SBSNews pic.twitter.com/LDz4iPracQ
— Krishani Dhanji (@KrishaniDhanji) November 2, 2021
Naturally, the clip went viral in China shortly thereafter for, well, saying what we all assumed he was thinking. Chinese state-run news website Gunacha.com went so far as to assert that his head is “full of China.”
“He doesn’t have a passion to protect the environment but does have anti-China passion under the name of protecting the environment,” said the outlet. “This episode is the actual reflection of his mind.”
Australia Refuses To Phase Out Coal
A total of 40 nations joined together to commit to phasing out coal by the 2030s “or as soon as possible” but unfortunately, Australia is not on that list.
The pledge was backed by five of the 20 biggest coal power consumers, including South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Poland and Ukraine, with the US, Canada and the UK pledging to end overseas coal, gas and oil investment by the end of 2022. However, Australia signed neither of the above commitments, asserting that we are focused on developing technology, not “wiping out industries.”
It’s worth noting that a large chunk of our net-zero policy is dependent on technologies that don’t even exist yet.
Morrison And Taylor Literally Left Early
And last, but certainly not least, we cannot forget the fact that Prime Minister Scott Morrison — the man who begrudgingly RSVP’d to the conference at the 11th hour — and Australia’s Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor high-tailed it out of Glasgow and back to Australia before the two-week summit even wrapped up.
“COP heads into its finals days of negotiations this week and Australia’s energy minister has gone home — that says it all,” Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who is still at the summit, said.
Photo Credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images