Biden Administration to Pressure Climate Laggards Like Australia
US President Joe Biden says he will not accept half measures when it comes to climate action, a message the Morrison government should heed.
“President Biden will re-sign the Paris Agreement on his first day in the White House because climate is a top priority for the administration. We can expect to see a 180 degree turn in America’s approach,” said the Climate Council’s CEO Amanda McKenzie.
“The election of Joe Biden is very significant for Australia. We no longer have a climate-denying administration in the US to hide behind in international negotiations. The Australian government is now in a shrinking pool of climate wreckers, in the company of Brazil, Russia and Saudi Arabia,” said Ms McKenzie.
“Australia’s refusal to adopt a credible climate policy is not only costly to our international reputation, it is looking increasingly risky economically,” said Ms McKenzie.
More than 70% of Australia’s coal and gas exports go to South Korea, Japan and China, which have recently committed to achieving net zero emissions by around mid-century. President Biden has also promised to set a net zero target.
“There is now serious talk of carbon border tariffs on imports to the EU, with the US also signalling it will use trade to help increase global ambition,” said Ms McKenzie.
She said that Australia had an enormous amount to gain as the world transitioned to a zero-carbon economy.
“Australia can capitalise on our massive natural advantages in sun and wind to become a renewable energy superpower. We can manufacture products like renewable hydrogen and green steel, setting ourselves up with the industries of the future, rather than relying on the dying, polluting industries of the past,” said Ms McKenzie.