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This Is Where Australia Stands Ahead Of The COP26 Summit In Scotland

Scott Morrison will discuss Australia's approach to the climate crisis at the milestone conference.

This week, Scott Morrison will fly to Scotland to attend COP26, a summit which brings together more than 200 world leaders to discuss action and change around the climate crisis. 

The event has drawn a lot of attention across the world, namely because this is the first time it’s been held in more than two years (the annual event last year was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic). 

The event will take place from October 31, with an expected end date on November 12—though this is subject to change if leaders are unable to come to effective and collaborative agreements. 

Framework set out at the 1992 UN Convention on Climate Change has bound every country to avoid “avoid dangerous climate change”, with the yearly COP summit serving as a way to hold countries accountable to that. 

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Of course, here in Australia all eyes are on Scott Morrison as he prepares to join the likes of Joe Biden, Boris Johnson and even famed advocates Greta Thunberg and David Attenburgh at the conference this year. 

The reason? Well, Australia is one of the world’s top polluters per-capita, and given Morrison was narrowly voted into power with a climate policy that actually opposed a net zero target for 2050, it’s natural that some of us are hoping for some kind of action or amendment in relation to this—as well as other positive steps in reducing the country’s carbon footprint. 

In response to the former, Morrison has confirmed that Australia will now commit to the target of net zero by 2050—however it will not increase that goal to 2030, a timeline firmly recommended by climate activists and a key objective to the COP26 talks. 

Instead, Morrison is forecasting to cut up to 35 per cent by 2030 based on 2005 levels—which is up from the government’s previous commitment for a 26 to 28 per cent reduction. 

In an emailed statement shared with media on Tuesday, Morrison wrote: “We won’t be lectured by others who do not understand Australia. The Australian way is all about how you do it, and not if you do it. It’s about getting it done.”

(Credit: Getty)

His confidence and determination to play the long game hasn’t convinced the experts. 

As Morrison’s announcement went out on Tuesday, the authorities on the matter weighed in. 

Per the BBC, Murdoch University fire ecology expert Joe Fontaine said Morrison’s net zero plan had “all the strength of a wet paper bag”.

Meanwhile a CNN analysis pointed out that Australia would be the “weakest link” of the rich world at COP26.

Speaking to the network, Climate Council head of research Simon Bradshaw said: “The Morrison government’s net zero by 2050 announcement is a joke without strong emissions cuts this decade.” 

In another statement, the CEO of the Investor Group on Climate Change, Rebecca Mikula-Wright said: “Investors are ready to invest billions, not millions, in Australia’s transition to net zero. Australia not updating its 2030 target in line with commitments under the Paris Agreements is of deep concern to investors.”

What is Net Zero? 

When referencing Net Zero, this pertains to equalising the balance between greenhouse gas emissions taken out of the atmosphere and what’s going into the atmosphere—thus, the net amount is zero. 

It can also be referred to as carbon neutral. 

Discussion around the Net Zero target and the 2030 push will make up a large portion of the COP26 summit, with countries expected to come to agreements and outline their intentions in relation to this. 

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