An International Embarrassment and an Economic Wrecking Ball: Australia Heads to G7

11.06.21 By

EXPERTS warn the climate position Australia is taking into the G7 Summit in Cornwall is a major liability for our international standing and the health of our economy. 

Climate change is high on the summit agenda, with G7 leaders already: committed to ending funding for coal; contemplating carbon tariffs; racing to reach net zero; and strengthening their 2030 emissions reduction targets. This is in stark contrast to Australia, which is showing up without a net zero target, or a promise to increase our emissions targets for this decade, and has no plans to phase out fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy.

With G7 an important stepping stone on the road to the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow this November, experts warn Australia’s position is becoming increasingly untenable, dangerous, and embarrassing. 

Nicki Hutley, Climate Council spokeswoman and economist, says: “From an economic perspective, we’re essentially watching the rest of the world jump on the climate train, it’s about to leave the station, and Australia is busy looking the other way. The Australian Government can’t stop this global trend. By refusing to set net zero targets, raise our Paris targets, or stop wasting taxpayer money on fossil fuels, the Australian government is leaving industries like manufacturing, energy and agriculture exposed to costly tariffs. Even worse, by refusing to take meaningful climate action, Australia is missing an opportunity to create 250,000 new jobs in the clean economy and reap a $680 billion dividend from becoming a global renewable energy powerhouse and world-leading exporter of low-emissions technologies.” 

Dr Simon Bradshaw, Head of Research, Climate Council, says: “Australia has a long and shameful history of holding back international climate action – from throwing a wrench in Kyoto Protocol negotiations back in 1997 to its stubborn refusal to strengthen its inadequate contribution towards the Paris Agreement. Our behaviour at the G7 is no different, but what has changed is the rest of the world. Other countries are losing patience; leaving us increasingly isolated. Global heavyweights like UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden have made it abundantly clear that they expect better from Australia, and policies like the carbon tariffs under consideration by various G7 nations will go ahead, no matter how much we complain and posture. We can either get with the programme by making deep and rapid emissions cuts that will deliver us many economic benefits —or we can remain behind, clutching a lump of coal and a sad collection of stranded fossil fuel assets.”

For interviews, contact Brianna Hudson on 0455 238 875 or Vaidehi Shah on 0452 290 082. 

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