Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Angus Taylor addresses international community at COP25 without mentioning bushfire climate crisis

On Tuesday 10 December Australian Energy Minister delivered Australia's national statement to the United Nations climate conference COP25 in Madrid. While bushfires raged in the state of New Soutrh Wales and across Australia, and even in Angus's own southern Tablands electorate of Hume, there was not a mention of the bushfirers in his address to the international community.

Lots of hype about meeting and beating climate targets, but the reality is the Morrison Government advocated strongly for using Kyoto Prorocol carryover credits to meet Australia's already too low Paris Agreement climate targets.

The advicacy for this met pushback. But it was one of the destabilising factors in the conference that provided distraction and prevented the conference reaching more ambiituos outcomes.

It is ironical that most of the energy transition driven by uptake of renewables in Australia since 2013 has come about despite the actions of the Liberal National Party government that Angus Taylor outlined so boldly in his speech.


Richie Merzian, Climate and Energy Director at The Australia Insitute, and a former climate negotiator for Australia, did a commentary on the Ministerial speech:

National Statement COP25, Madrid

10 December 2019

ANGUS TAYLOR: Thank you Mr President, Ministers and Colleagues.

I thank Chile for presiding over this important session of the Conference of the Parties.

I also recognise the contribution made by Spain for agreeing to host this meeting at very short notice. You have our thanks.

Mr President.

The Paris Agreement sent a powerful signal to the world that countries are serious about climate change.

Australia is committed to the Paris Agreement. We are already on track to meet and beat the target we have set for 2030, just as we are meeting and beating our Kyoto targets.

Our recently released forecasts say that we expect to beat our 2020 targets by 411 million tonnes, which is around 80% of a full year of emissions.

Strong messages and targets alone won’t address climate change, no matter how ambitious.

The world needs action to reduce emissions and Australia believes technology is central to achieving this.

We can only reduce emissions as fast as the deployment of commercially viable technologies allow.

This means we need to get the right technology to the marketplace when and where it is needed.

In Australia, we are developing a Technology Investment Roadmap.

The roadmap will establish an enduring, strategic approach to Australia’s low emissions technology investment.

We will continue to work closely with our industry, researchers, and our international partners to find commercially viable deployment pathways for these priority technologies.

An example of a priority technology is hydrogen. Last month we released our National Hydrogen Strategy. The strategy outlines actions for the development of a hydrogen industry that offers enormous benefits for our economy and could, through our exports, assist other countries to reduce their emissions.

We recognise that international collaboration will be crucial to achieving our technology vision. We are an active participant in Mission Innovation, particularly in the hydrogen, heating and cooling, and smart grids challenges. I welcome the recently formed Leadership Group for Industry Transition and am pleased to announce the Australia will join that initiative.

Australia provides an important perspective as one of the world’s biggest, and most trusted energy suppliers.

In Australia, an unprecedented wave of low emissions energy investment is already underway.

Last year, renewable investment was Australia’s highest on record at AU$14.1 billion, which is world leading investment given our population.

Renewables are now more than 25% of our electricity supply in our National Electricity Market.

Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the world’s most successful green bank, has mobilised over $20 billion in new investments.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has provided $1.4 billion to improve the affordability and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia.

Australia has the world’s highest uptake of household solar panels, with around two million, or one in five, Australian households now having solar panels.

This increase has not been without issues and one of our challenges is to ensure energy remains affordable and reliable as these changes occur. We cannot move faster than the technology allows.

Our long term strategy to reduce emissions is focused on deploying cost effective technologies and we will be releasing a more detailed technology strategy next year.

The strategy will build on the $3.5 billion Climate Solutions Package announced earlier this year, which has provided the pathway to meet or exceed our 2030 target, as we have done for our previous targets.

As well as reducing emissions at home, Australia is focused on working with our developing country partners to address climate challenges, particularly our Pacific neighbours.

We are delivering on our $1 billion climate finance commitment from 2015 to 2020.

We have announced an additional $500 million over five years from 2020 to help Pacific nations invest in clean energy and climate and disaster resilience.

Acknowledging the importance of continuing to build resilience, Australia is pleased to be hosting the Asia Pacific Ministerial on Disaster Risk Reduction in Brisbane in June 2020.

We will also invest $140 million to mobilise private sector investments in low emissions, climate-resilient solutions for the Pacific and Southeast Asia.

Like our Pacific neighbours, we recognise oceans are critical to health, wealth and survival. We are a world leader in ocean protection and sustainable use. We play a leading role in the International Partnership for Blue Carbon to improve understanding and management of coastal blue carbon.

Mr President.

Here in Madrid, we need to finalise arrangements for Paris Agreement carbon markets that give us confidence that traded carbon units represent genuine emissions reductions.

A clear path forward on Article 6 arrangements will help countries deliver on our Paris Agreement goals and signal commitment to Paris Agreement implementation.

Thank you.

Ministerial Speech sourced from Environment Department

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