COP26 ends with stark warning: step up on emission cuts this decade Aus, or pay the price

14.11.21 By

AUSTRALIA’S international reputation has taken a battering as nations leave COP26 with a renewed sense of urgency to act on climate change this decade. 

The negotiations, which came to an end around 6.45am AEDT this morning, place enormous pressure on Australia to step up its efforts during the critical years ahead. 

The Glasgow Climate Pact requires countries to strengthen their 2030 climate targets in 2022, recognising global emissions must fall 45 per cent by 2030 to limit warming to 1.5°C – a matter of survival for many vulnerable communities. 

For the first time in 26 years of COP summits, there is a specific call to move beyond coal power and phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

Climate Council Head of Research Dr Simon Bradshaw said 140 countries lifted their game on climate action at COP26, while Australia cemented its reputation as a laggard and blocker. 

“The federal government showed up empty-handed to a pivotal moment in the fight for our future. They’ve let down our Pacific neighbours, as well as Australians who do not deserve to endure more frequent and severe bushfires, floods, droughts and heatwaves,” Dr Bradshaw said. 

“As our allies and trading partners rise to the climate challenge, we’re stuck in a polluting past with a handful of countries including Russia and Saudi Arabia. The Government’s own Net Zero modelling, released two days ago, predicts Australia will still be a major coal and gas exporter in 2050. 

“The Glasgow Climate Pact has made it very clear that our government must come back to the table next year with a stronger 2030 target. It’s time to slash carbon pollution this decade, as if our futures depended on it – because they do.”

Pledges made at COP26 still leave the world on track for over 2°C of warming, and so success depends on these commitments and actions being rapidly scaled up in the wake of Glasgow. 

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said: “The federal government has tarnished Australia’s good name in Glasgow failing to put forward a meaningful 2030 emissions reduction target. 

“All Australians will pay the price. We’re the sunniest country in the world but we’re missing opportunities in the clean energy race. We are feeling the worsening consequences of climate change.

“Australians all over the country are doing their best and will rightly be disappointed. They are rolling up their sleeves to do more on climate, but the Morrison government is all talk no action. It’s downright reckless.

“The Morrison government must do better. All new fossil fuel expansion must cease, and we need to phase out their use as quickly as possible. Let’s show the world what we’re really made of.”

For interviews please contact Jane Gardner on 0438 130 905 or Hannah Izzard on 0475 247 754 

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.

For further information, go to: climatecouncil.org.au

Or follow us on social media: facebook.com/climatecouncil and twitter.com/climatecouncil