Words by Sam Hetherington
When it comes to climate change commitments, everyone is doing better than Australia.
Last week’s climate summit, assembled by the US, was the world’s challenge to step up its game in the face of climate change. Invited were countries with the worst-performing track record in regards to emissions, as well as those charting innovative pathways to net zero—here’s a recap of some of the stand-out commitments… and then there’s Australia.
The Biden administration has their work cut out for them reversing Trump’s toxic legacy, but Biden has committed to a 50-52% emission reduction by 2030. This target was officially submitted to the United Nations, as well as a promise to double financial aid to developing countries bearing the brunt of climate change impacts.
Deforestation was front and centre for the Brazilians, as the continuing destruction of the Amazon rainforest has been heavily criticised (obviously) by the entire world. Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro stepped up to the challenge though and vowed to end illegal deforestation by 2030, as well as net-zero targets.
As the fifth-largest emitter, Japan took a long hard look at themselves and increased their previous commitment of 26% to 46% by 2030, compared to 2013 levels. This double-sized effort proved pressure to increase climate ambition and actions from leading countries actually works.
The UK finalised their plans ahead of the summit with a huge 78% emission reduction target by 2035. This commitment, which is to become law, brings forward the current 2050 target by 15 years, which would put the UK in a leading position.
The most impressive part about the EU’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050 is that the EU is a whole bloody continent. The 27 governments and European Parliament wrote the climate bill into law, with singular countries making even further commitments, showcasing the urgency we need from the world in addressing climate change.
And then… there’s Australia
ScoMo made no new commitments at the conference, despite international pressure. Obviously, there’s a huge difference between saying you’re going to do something and actually doing it—but we can’t even get that first part right.
On Saturday, surfers paddled out at Newy in opposition to the PEP-11 gas rig proposed for the East Coast, a move that will drive our fossil fuel lead country further in the wrong direction. ScoMo slammed the efforts of small communities when he said, ‘We will not achieve net zero in the cafes, dinner parties and wine bars of our inner cities’, and yet completely pivoted by directing the responsibility to the larger, policy-run industries such as manufacturing, agricultural and energy sectors. Yeah, buddy, that’s you.
This idiot can’t even commit to a long-term goal, let alone treat climate change as the immediate emergency it is. With border adjustment taxes for countries not doing their part loosely proposed by the US, UK and EU, Australia finds itself falling well and truly behind. No one likes a slow poke, ScoMo.