COP26: 26 reasons why Australia is world’s worst on climate policy

November 16, 2021
Used with permission from Alan Moir,

The COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow has failed to requisitely respond to the worsening climate crisis, with national pledges promising a catastrophic +2.4°C temperature rise.

However, at least COP26 identified the worst culprits: out of 64 polluting countries, the 2022 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) has ranked climate criminal Australia worst in the world for climate policy.

The 2022 CCPI covers 64 countries generating 92% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and ranks them from very high to very low across 4 categories: climate policy; GHG emissions; renewables; and energy use.

Australia is ranked “very low” for performance in all four areas, and was the only country to score zero on climate policy for many reasons, very likely including these:

1. Its racist ignoring of “per capita” GHG pollution and the right of global South countries to a decent life. In terms of population, “GDP per capita” and “tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year”, we can compare China (1,400 million, $11,800 and 7.4), India (1,390 million, $2,190 and 2.1) and Australia (26 million, $63,000 and 53, or 116 with exports included).

2. Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected a price on carbon (a damage-related and inescapable $200 per tonne CO2-equivalent, but a global applied average of only $2). 

3. He rejected the multinational COP26 plan for cutting methane emissions 30% by 2030 (Australia has huge methanogenic coal, gas and livestock industries.)

4. Morrison supports the COP26 ban on “deforestation”, but Australia is a world leader in land clearing (as well as in the massive collateral extinction and ecocide).  

5. Australia did not change its “26–28% off 2005 by 2030” target. According to the Greens, for a 2°C goal, the targets would need to be at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero by 2045.

6. The Pentecostal PM believes in “miracles” and has “faith” in a “technological miracle” — the worst expression of the Coalition’s anti-science stance.

7. The government lies about “gas is cleaner than coal”. At a 3% systemic leakage, as happens in the US, gas use is dirtier GHG-wise than coal. 

8. The government lies about “renewable, clean and safe” nuclear energy. But nuclear is dirty, expensive, dangerous, non-renewable and, fission aside, a major carbon dioxide polluter.

9. The government promotes the expensive Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) pipedream. As it is so expensive, it is yet to be adopted on a big scale. It is vastly cheaper not to pollute in the first place.

10. The government falsely claims the country is meeting its pollution reduction commitments but ignores its huge GHG exports and fraudulently underestimates methane emissions.

11. Australia is considering 100 new fossil fuel projects that would increase annual GHG pollution by 1.7 gigatonnes CO2-equivalent.

12. The National Party is fervently committed to fossil fuel and methanogenic livestock exploitation. Its non-Indigenous rural constituency was historically involved in massive genocide, speciescide and ecocide, and its mining backers are complicit in a worsening global climate genocide.

13. The government’s absurd gas-led post-pandemic recovery when gas is dirtier GHG-wise than coal .

14. Australia is committed to leading the world in coal and gas exports and is among world leaders in 16 areas of climate criminality.

15. Australia resolutely ignores its role in 10 million annual air pollution deaths. The full scale, life-time Adani coal mine operation will eventually kill 1.4 million Indians. 

16. Australia trying to block a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) coral report reference to +1.5°C. At +1.5°C, 97% of coral will die, and at a now inevitable +2°C, 99% of coral will die.

17. The government calls “dirty” and “lower emissions” “clean” when even “clean” hydrogen from renewable-based electrolysis can be methanogenic by scavenging methane-removing atmospheric hydroxyl radicals.

18. Morrison’s immediate violation of a “technology not taxation” post-COP26 climate policy by continuing taxpayer subsidies for GHG polluting industries.

19. His dishonest “socialism for the rich” post-COP26 electric vehicle (EV) policy by supporting EV chargers for rich EV owners, but not EV accessibility for the poor.

20. His endless Orwellian obfuscation and gross semantic violation over “clean”, “cleaner” and “low emissions” technology. “Cleaner” and “lower emissions” technologies are still “dirty”.

21. His refusal to say how exactly Australia will achieve “zero net emissions by 2050”.

22. His use of crude pejorative abuse to diminish the science-informed young (“go back to school”) and professionals (“inner city latte sippers”) who want rapid and substantial action to save the planet.

23. Lying by omission and commission over Australia’s huge domestic and exported GHG pollution, variously estimated as 5–9% of the world’s total. Australians represent 0.3% of the world’s population. 

24. Ignoring the right to life and property of island nations and First Nations peoples — tropical islands face inundation from sea level rise and high energy storms; impoverished First Nations peoples face a worsening threat of death from heat stress.

25. The commitment to mindless neoliberalism-driven economic and population growth.

26. The government plans to subsidise two new gas-fired power stations.

The COP26 failure confirms that the world has run out of time to avoid a catastrophic +2°C temperature rise.

[Read the full article at Countercurrents.]

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