Australian news, and some related international items

UN climate talks: what’s on the agenda in Madrid and what it means for Australia,

UN climate talks: what’s on the agenda in Madrid and what it means for Australia, Angus Taylor heads to COP25 next week, where Australia has already twice been given the ‘fossil of the day’ award, Guardian,  Adam Morton Environment editor. @adamlmorton, Sun 8 Dec 2019  For two weeks at the end of every year, the world’s governments meet to work on a global response to climate change. This year is the 25th meeting of what is known as the conference of the parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Those who attend know it as COP, or COP25.

Here’s what you need to know about this year’s talks, which started on Monday in Madrid, and what they could mean for Australia.

Where does Australia stand coming into the talks?

There are nearly 190 countries represented at the UN climate talks and, contrary to some perceptions, Australia is not just a bit player.

Under UN greenhouse accounting, Australia is responsible for about 1.3% of annual pollution, which places it 16th on a ladder of polluting nations. It emits more each year than 40 countries with larger populations, including G7 members Britain, France and Italy.

On other measures Australia performs worse. It emits more per person than any other developed country (and far more than most developing countries), and a recent analysis found it was third for exported emissions.

It is the world’s biggest seller of coal, particularly metallurgic coal used in steel-making, and either number one or two for natural gas. It is easily the largest emitter in the south Pacific, and has been increasingly drawing criticism from Pacific leaders for not doing more to tackle the issue.

As the talks began last week, Australia was at the forefront of the climate emergency in other ways, as drought and bushfires made global headlines. Scientists say both are unprecedented and in line with climate projections.

Observers such as Howard Bamsey, the country’s former special envoy on climate change, say events in Australia are noticed and could be used to influence other countries to do more. But the government’s message focuses on its own actions: that it has set a 2030 emissions reduction target, that it more than met previous targets it set for itself and that it will meet this one.

Who is representing Australia?

Australia has a 21-strong delegation from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, led by Jamie Isbister, a senior diplomat who was appointed environment ambassador less than three weeks ago.

In the second week’s political stage, Australia will be represented by Angus Taylor, the minister for energy and emissions reduction. It is his first time at climate talks. He arrives under pressure on several fronts, including a bizarre public spat with American author Naomi Wolf.

How is Australia positioning itself?…….

Scott Morrison has indicated Australia has no plan to increase what it is doing beyond its 2030 target of a 26-28% cut compared with 2005 levels, which is less than what government advisors found would be Australia’s fair share or it could afford to do.

The prime minister has not acknowledged what groups representing business, unions, farmers, investors and the social policy sector this week spelled out in a joint statement – that the goals of the Paris agreement mean Australia will need to plan to stop emitting any carbon dioxide.

Australia’s emissions are not coming down and most experts believe it is not on track to meet its target.  …….

December 9, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming

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