Scott Morrison – Joe Biden‘s climate summit will put Scott Morrison under ‘mounting pressure’ on emissions targets
“Our diplomats will challenge the practices of countries whose action – or inaction – is setting the world back,” Mr Blinken said in a speech.
“When countries continue to rely on coal for a significant amount of their energy, or invest in new coal factories, or allow for massive deforestation, they will hear from the United States and our partners about how harmful these actions are.”
Mr Blinken did not specifically single out any country, but his remarks expressly stated the Biden administration’s focus on increasing the ambition of climate action.
“We need the whole world focused on taking action now and through this decade to promote the achievement of net zero global emissions by 2050,” he said.
The upcoming summit to be held later this week is being seen as an attempt by Mr Biden to signal his intent to prioritise the issue of climate change and rally global action early in his administration.
The summit is also being viewed as a preview for the UN COP26 conference in Glasgow, starting on 1 November, which will once again call on countries to raise the ambition of their climate targets.
Australia currently has the target of reducing emissions by 26 to 28 per cent compared to 2005 levels under the global Paris Agreement.
In February, Mr Biden‘s climate envoy John Kerry noted there were past differences between the United States and Australia on climate change policy, referencing Australia’s intended use of carry-over emissions credits from past agreements.
Australia has since announced it will not use such credits to meet its emissions targets.
However, Dr Downie said Mr Kerry’s comments showed Australia would not be exempt from scrutiny at the upcoming Biden summit.
“Any attempt to continue to window dress Australia’s climate record is going to fail,” he said.
“That is why Australia is really being targeted now as one of these countries that needs to do more on climate change.”
President Joe Biden is expected to unveil a new 2030 emission cut before the summit – a move that would place further pressure on Australia to consider increasing the short-term ambition of its climate policy.
Grattan Institute energy program director Tony Wood said Mr Morrison’s shifting language around long-term emissions targets and climate action did signify progress on the issue from the Australian government.
“Whilst many of us may be frustrated with the pace of change – we are going incrementally in the right direction,” he told SBS News.
“You’ve got to have the technology – you’ve got to have the policy and you have got to have the markets that invest in the technology.”
Mr Wood also agreed “calls would grow louder” for more ambitious policy action, if and when the United States ramps up its own policy commitments.
Mr Morrison is among 40 leaders who have been invited to join the virtual summit to be held across 22 April and 23 April.