So, Scott Morrison and Angus Taylor will shortly be in Glasgow to represent us at COP 26. On our behalf, and ably supported by the Murdoch media, they will be lecturing the world on how to use Technology to reduce carbon emissions. No doubt the world will listen intently – especially the French!
But neither of our representatives seem to have the faintest understanding of what technological solutions are available. As evidenced by their incredibly arrogant and incompetent performance to date, it seems clear that the technologies they intend to support are limited to Coal, Gas and Carbon Capture and Storage. This government is so clearly dependent on the fossil fuel industry for its survival that it dares not take any reasonable stance on climate issues. It is safe to say that around the world we are for many reasons and incidentally not just climate-related, no longer regarded as a progressive nation.
On the issue of climate change we are clearly seen as one of the world’s worst laggards.
Even as recently as this month, this view has been strengthened by our government thumbing its nose at the world by appointing Brendon Pearson, a staunch advocate of the fossil fuel industry, as Australia’s permanent representative to the OECD. Pearson is, of course, the man who supplied the lump of coal that Morrison brandished in Parliament. I believe that the world has accepted that any progress made in Australia to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be achieved despite the Morrison government’s efforts not because of them.
And then again based on the incredibly incompetent diplomatic efforts of our prime minister and defence minister over submarines, even if we do commit to net zero by 2050 at or before the conference who will believe us. Australia has given a solid impression that we cannot be trusted to keep our side of the bargain. We break a contract without notice having made statements of solidarity as recently as a month ago – a contract signed in good faith with a good friend who put its trust in us, extending support to Australian workers moving to France and providing French experts to work in Australia. And according to the Prime Minister the French should just accept that we had to change our minds and run along into the arms of our better friends.
So, are you proud to have this prime minister and his energy minister represent you at one of the most important world meetings ever? Or are you, like me, wishing to distance yourself from what they are likely to say “on our behalf”? Fifty years ago, I made a life-defining decision to become a proud Australian Citizen. I will never regret doing so, but there are limits to how proud we can be on the world stage when our federal government simply refuses to carry its weight to help make things right, especially on climate change.
*Tom is a member of the Metung Science Forum