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Australia defends climate stance after Britain urges ‘bold action’

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 was forced to address the country’s climate change commitments after being urged by his British counterpart to take “bold action” to reach net zero carbon emissions.

Scott Morrison
Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison

Downing Street released details of an overnight call in which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson emphasised to Morrison “the importance of setting ambitious targets to cut emissions and reach Net Zero.”

Johnson also noted that “the UK’s experience demonstrates that driving economic growth and reducing emissions can go hand-in-hand,” the statement said.

Morrison initially brushed off the comments when questioned by reporters on Wednesday, saying “the key focus of our discussion last night was actually on the UK free trade agreement.”

But he quickly went on to defend his climate stance, saying that the country’s policies “won’t be set in the United Kingdom, they won’t be set in Brussels, they won’t be set in any part of the world other than here.”

“One thing the British prime minister and I agree on is that achieving emissions reductions shouldn’t come at the cost of jobs in Australia or the UK.”

Britain has a policy of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and this week Japan – one of Australia’s main trading partners – also announced its 2050 commitment.

The Australian government has promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to between 26 and 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, but it is yet to set a long-term target.

Morrison has been pushing his plan for a “gas-led recovery,” out of the COVID-19 recession, which includes major projects that environmental experts have labelled a “climate disaster.”

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