Australia’s policies in response to climate change have been ranked last according to an assessment released during the COP26 global summit in Glasgow. The Climate Change Performance Index ranked 60 countries that contribute up to 92% of global CO2 emissions. Among the countries ranked, Australia ranked 54 in energy use, 52 in renewable energy, and even took the absolute lowest spot in climate policy.
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The index identified Australia’s climate strategies as unambitious. Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government was found to have the highest per-capita greenhouse emissions compared to the other countries. The country’s lack of policies and reluctance to adopt renewable energy contributed to the overall low ranking. Recently, Australia’s Resources Minister Keith Pitt was even quoted saying the country will continue producing as much coal as it can get market for.
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Reports from sideline meetings in Glasgow indicate that Australia remained non-committal, refusing to sign a pledge to cut its emissions or even phase out coal usage. However, Australia has been at the forefront in promoting carbon capture strategies.
“The country’s lack of ambition and action has made its way to the international stage,” the report says. “Australia has fallen behind its allies and its inaction even attracted public criticism in the run-up to Cop26.”
The Australian government released a long list of new policies and plans in October, announcing that it will be working toward carbon neutrality by 2050. Unfortunately, these policies have been labeled weak and brushed off by climate policy analysts.
In Morrison’s speech at COP26, he did not mention any commitments from Australia, instead calling for a reduction in technology costs. His speech and the words of other official government representatives have also been interpreted as a lack of commitment towards resolving the climate crisis.
According to Suzanne Harter, a climate change and clean energy campaigner at the Australian Conservation Foundation, “There’s no genuine strategy, no reasonable interim targets or any appropriate investment. There’s no phase-out plan for fossil fuels, no carbon pricing and the technology roadmap relies on technologies that don’t even exist yet.”
Via The Guardian