Three key tests for Australia as Bowen arrives on the global climate stage

07.12.23 By

As Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen touches down in Dubai for the United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) the Climate Council says firm commitments and leadership are needed from the Albanese Government.

Senior Researcher at the Climate Council, Dr. Wesley Morgan said: “The measure of Australia’s success on the international stage will be its support for an orderly and just phase out of coal, oil and gas.” 

Australia has made good progress at the United Nations talks, committing alongside other nations to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030 and pledging to end the use of international aid funding for climate-damaging projects.  

These are positive steps that will help Australia continue to rebuild its reputation on the world stage and regain the trust of communities across our region. Our delegation has an opportunity to keep building on this momentum in the final push for progress before the conference ends. 

Dr. Wesley Morgan says that to be successful at COP28, Australia will need to do three things:

Commit to a global phase out of fossil fuels:

“The world’s reliance on coal, oil, and gas is polluting our atmosphere and overheating the planet. The impacts are all around us with 2023 now certain to be the hottest year ever recorded. Every new coal, oil, or gas development further endangers us all. This is why all countries, including Australia, need to commit to a phase out of fossil fuels like coal and gas,” said Dr Morgan.

“Right now, the world is tracking towards further, dangerous overheating. If we don’t start cutting pollution rapidly then we risk triggering catastrophic and irreversible changes that will lead to even more extreme weather events and widespread devastation.

“Negotiations in Dubai are now focussed on securing a global agreement to move rapidly away from coal, oil and gas. In the interests of all Australians, our government should be backing this in.”

Financially contribute to the Loss and Damage Fund:

“The new international fund set up to address ongoing climate losses and damage is a vital step forward and a hard-fought win by Pacific island countries and other vulnerable communities worldwide. With other nations – including the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, United Arab Emirates and Germany – already contributing to the fund, Australia must also do its part. We need to support our Pacific neighbours by actively contributing to this global fund, and recognising our responsibilities as a major fossil fuel producer,” said Dr Morgan.

Support Pacific priorities:

“Backing a fossil fuel phase out will build trust with Pacific island nations, which is vital if Australia is to successfully co-host this event in our own region in three years’ time,” said Dr Morgan.

“Our Pacific neighbours are fighting tooth and nail to secure our shared future, and Australia can’t keep adding fuel to the fire. We should stand alongside vulnerable countries in our region and give our all to secure a better future for everyone.

“If we want to be a successful co-host of the United Nations climate summit – and a trusted member of the Pacific family – we will need to tell the world that we are ready to move away from our polluting past as a fossil fuel heavyweight to our future as a clean energy powerhouse.”

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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.

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