08. December 2021

Australia open to charges of climate hypocrisy, says Julie Bishop


Timmermans was amongst those that joined the battle to maintain collectively the accord.

“For heaven’s sake, don’t kill this moment by asking for more text, different text, deleting this, deleting that. I implore you. Please embrace this text so we can bring hope to the hearts of our children and grandchildren. They are waiting for us. They will not forgive us if we fail them today.”

Australia’s speech was completely different.

The tackle by Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment Jamie Isbister was oddly flat in a room heated with ardour. Sharma was not the one official introduced to tears that day, and plenty of delegates and ministers struggled with emotion as they voiced their reservations in backing what they noticed as a flawed settlement.

Isbister, observers famous on the time, seemed as if he was going by way of the motions as he mentioned Australia “recognised the strong focus” on climate finance “heard the call” for loss and harm funding and “can accept the text” of the ultimate doc”.

Australia’s ambassador for the environment Jamie Isbister speaks during the final session.

Australia’s ambassador for the setting Jamie Isbister speaks throughout the ultimate session.Credit:Getty

Within hours although each the power and overseas ministers mentioned Australia wouldn’t revisit its 2030 targets, as known as for by the settlement their authorities had simply endorsed in Glasgow.

What is placing for the reason that COP completed and the feedback had been reported, is just not how frank condemnation of Australia has been, however how reserved it has been. At least from official sources.

Whitehall instantly registered the feedback, and the UK authorities was not impressed, particularly given how a lot political effort and capital each Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Sharma had spent searching for a powerful end result on the talks. The UK is of the view that Australia was directly pleased for the Indian pushback at COP26, and pleased not to be pressured to publicly assist it.

But as each governments proceed to hammer out a free commerce settlement, there was no official response.

Asked to remark, one senior EU official who was current at COP merely mentioned it was placing that he had “not heard ‘Australia’ mentioned much if at all during the negotiations or by journalists”.

Al Gore has commented on Australia’s stance, noting that, with out bettering its 2030 goal, its 2050 pledge has “little meaning”, however there was no public phrase from the White House or the US delegation.

On Twitter Tina Stege, an ethical pressure at COP26 in her twin roles as climate envoy for the Marshall Islands and the main voice of the voting bloc of nations, the High Ambition Coalition, questioned if the “ink was even dry” on the Glasgow Pact when Australia declared it might not rethink its targets.

Climate Envoy for the Marshall Islands Tina Stege speaks with John Kerry at the summit.

Climate Envoy for the Marshall Islands Tina Stege speaks with John Kerry on the summit. Credit:Getty

In Australia distinguished authorities critics of the Paris course of piled on.

Barnaby Joyce snickered on the emotion Sharma displayed within the ultimate moments of the Glasgow negotiations and Matt Canavan celebrated the COP26 end result as a “green light” for constructing new Australian coal mines.

This is just not what the Glasgow Pact says in spirit or phrase, and Australia’s political response has been famous, says Dr Wesley Morgan, a specialist on Pacific affairs climate diplomacy with the Climate Council.

He notes {that a} mechanism to enhance stress on Australia is constructed into the Glasgow Pact, which calls on signatories to revisit their reductions targets yearly to convey them into line with Paris targets.

In failing to achieve this, says Morgan, wouldn’t simply be thumbing its nostril on the Paris course of and the Glasgow Pact, however on the world rules-based order Australia professes to assist.

Climate change is now woven into the material of diplomacy. It was central to this yr’s G7 and G20 talks this yr and in our Pacific area it was constructed into the Boe Declaration on Regional Security.

Australia, says Morgan, dangers not solely fracturing relationships over climate, however by not being engaged it’s rendering itself mute within the debate of “the how” the order needs to be formed.

“Collectively agreed rules negotiated through multilateral diplomacy are essential to the international order. More than 190 countries just signed the Glasgow Pact and ignoring it is frankly disgraceful, it undermines our commitment to the rules based order,” Morgan says.


And this remembers Julie Bishop and the federal government’s efforts to safe that seat on the UN Security Council virtually a decade in the past.

Bishop, now Australian National University Chancellor, championed the argument that the hassle and price was price it. Australia, as a center energy, had extra to profit than most nations not solely from the world abiding by the foundations, however by being on the desk whereas the foundations had been being written.

On Friday she instructed the Herald and The Age that the hole between Australia’s worldwide dedication and its home political rhetoric opened the door to charges of hypocrisy.

“When you play a spoiler role your reputation can be tarnished,” says Bishop.

“We are an open export-oriented trading nation, we rely heavily on access to markets around the world and our diplomatic weight should reflect our status and our interests. I don’t believe that’s currently the case.

“Our diplomatic effort, and that includes our commitment to multilateral agreements and institutions, has to be backed by critical domestic policy actions. Otherwise, we are seen as hypocrites or unreliable. Our word can’t be relied upon and can’t be trusted. And our reputation is absolutely vital for broader national interest.

“Australia’s diplomatic effort on the international stage is not matched by what is said at home and that gives rise to a lack of trust in our diplomatic efforts.”


Climate change, she says, is one of a small handful of disruptive forces shifting the worldwide order, together with rising competitors between China and the US and a digital know-how revolution.

In her view to defend its pursuits in a altering world Australia should enhance funding for DFAT and overseas support and exhibit itself to be a dependable and efficient participant in climate.

Because you by no means know when you find yourself going to want a pal.

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