Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
Energy
Minerals & Mining
Oceania & Pacific
Sam Morgan, Euractiv

Australia’s new prime minister will not walk away from the Paris climate agreement, although his new policies now make it unlikely the country will meet its emissions reduction goal. Ongoing trade talks with the EU could also hinge on how climate policy continues to develop.

Scott Morrison became Australia’s new prime minister on 24 August, after a brutal leadership contest saw Malcolm Turnbull ousted from his position, following a row over energy policy. Turnbull had wanted to cement in legislation Australia’s pledge to cut emissions by 26% by 2030, based on 2005 levels, but his conservative party colleagues soured on the idea. Poor opinion polls and recent defeats had stoked concerns ahead of federal elections next year.

After Morrison got the nod, the new prime minister moved to shore up his voter base by splitting the environmental and energy portfolios, meaning emissions reduction will no longer be a concern of the latter. The new setup means price and security of supply will now be the main tent poles of energy policymaking, meaning Australia will now struggle to meet its Paris commitments, according to climate experts, and will have to rely on passive measures.

In a tweet on Wednesday (29 August), Morrison called the new minister for energy, Angus Taylor, his “minister for lowering electricity prices”. Another MP, George Christensen, one of the rebels that helped depose Turnbull, called for more new coal-fired power stations and for “costly green treaties” to be abandoned. Local media reported that senior sources in government are unsure how Australia will now meet its targets, which were set by Turnbull’s predecessor, Tony Abbott, in 2015.

Abbott has since claimed he was “misled” by advisers when signing up to the Paris deal and has backed calls for Australia to follow the United States in withdrawing from the agreement. But sources also insisted that the new government will try to resist internal pressures to walk away from the 2015 climate accord, which aims to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.

Climate trade-off

The European Commission recently launched trade talks with both Australia and New Zealand, and a report circulated by the EU executive in early August revealed that the early negotiating rounds had progressed well. Bilateral trade between Australia and the EU topped €70bn in 2017 and an impact assessment concluded that removing certain tariffs could boost that figure by around a third.

But earlier this year, EU trade boss Cecilia Malmström tweeted that a reference to the Paris Agreement is needed in all new commercial deals, as part of the bloc’s attempts to export climate diplomacy across the world through trade. When asked how Australia’s new approach to climate policy might affect the ongoing talks, a Commission spokesperson told EURACTIV that “it would be difficult to imagine concluding a broad trade agreement without an ambitious chapter on trade and sustainable development”.

The recently brokered Japan agreement contains a chapter on sustainability, and ongoing talks with Mexico and Mercosur are expected to as well.

 

[This article originally appeared on euractiv.com]

Source:
EURACTIV

Land & Food
Security
Global Issues
adelphi

The mission of the Munich Security Conference is to “address the world’s most pressing security concerns”. These days, that means climate security: climate change is the ultimate threat multiplier, and anyone discussing food security, political instability, migration, or competition over resources should be aware of the climate change pressures that are so often at the root of security problems.

Climate Change
Environment & Migration
Security
Europe
Global Issues
Stella Schaller and Lukas Rüttinger, adelphi

The European Green Deal has made the environment and climate change the focus of EU action. Indeed, climate change impacts are already increasing the pressure on states and societies; however, it is not yet clear how the EU can engage on climate security and environmental peacemaking. In this light, and in the run-up to the German EU Council Presidency, adelphi and its partners are organising a roundtable series on “Climate, environment, peace: Priorities for EU external action in the decade ahead”.

adelphi

In January 2020, the German Federal Foreign Office launched Green Central Asia, a regional initiative on climate and security in Central Asia and Afghanistan. The aim of the initiative is to support a dialogue in the region on climate change and associated risks in order to foster regional integration between the six countries involved.

Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
Conflict Transformation
Environment & Migration
Security
Global Issues
German Federal Foreign Office

Climate change will shift key coordinates of foreign policy in the coming years and decades. Even now, climate policy is more than just environment policy; it has long since arrived at the centre of foreign policy. The German Foreign Office recently released a report on climate diplomacy recognizing the biggest challenges to security posed by climate change and highlighting fields of action for strengthening international climate diplomacy.