Australia to introduce more ambitious greenhouse gas emissions targets ‘very soon’. The Foreign Minister announced that he would be a candidate for hosting the UN COP Summit on Climate Change with the Pacific Islands.
Penny Wong, on her first foreign trip since the election of the new center-left government, marked a change in her country’s climate policy on Thursday, acknowledging that Australia had neglected its responsibility in the past.
Ms Wong assured her hosts in Fiji’s capital, Chua, that Canberra would no longer “disrespect” the Pacific and “ignore” their calls for action on climate change.
“We have been selected on a plan to reduce emissions (greenhouse gases) by 43% by 2030 and will reach (carbon) neutrality by 2050,” he added.
‘And these are not just words, we will put it into law and very soon we will submit a new contribution to the UNFCCC at the national level’ (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).
Under the previous Conservative government, Australia – one of the world’s largest coal and gas exporters – played a consistent role in international climate negotiations.
Ms Wong said she wanted to destroy that image by co-hosting the upcoming climate summit. “We propose to co-host the Future United Nations Parties Conference (COP) with the Pacific island nations and look forward to further discussions in the region on this idea,” the Minister said.
Looking for support
To do this, Canberra must face the diplomatic challenge by gaining the support of the two regional committees of the United Nations, as well as the support of the Pacific Islands, which wants to host the summit.
When asked about the credibility of Australia’s intentions in light of the country’s gas and coal exports, the Minister agreed: ‘It is true that we export a lot of coal to China’. He said his country was trying to manage its economic transformation ‘in a way that maintains economic prosperity’.
Climate skepticism shown by the previous Australian Prime Minister has destabilized relations between Canberra and its neighbors and allies in the Pacific.
Australia’s catastrophic wildfires and unprecedented floods illustrate the country’s impact on the effects of global warming.
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