Europe will urge Australia to increase its 2030 emission reduction pledge in the lead-up to this year’s Glasgow climate conference, with the EU ambassador in Canberra saying all countries should embrace “more ambitious and emboldened” policies.
In an interview with Guardian Australia, Dr Michael Pulch said countries should compare their ability to commit to climate ambitions compared to their position five or so years ago. The ambassador also said Europe wished to see all of its partners head in the direction of net zero emissions by 2050, and noted that the EU and the US were considering carbon-related charges on imports in an attempt to ensure a “level playing field” on global climate action. The ruling coalition in Australia is currently divided on the issue of taking economic action against climate change, with the National Party taking a stance against the issue. Just before Christmas, the Morrison government formally resubmitted to the UN its 2030 pledge of reducing emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels, while arguing this target was “a floor on Australia’s ambition” rather than a cap.
The EU and Australia are negotiating a free trade agreement, and both sides are hoping to wrap up the talks by the end of this year. The EU draft text includes a sustainable development chapter that emphasises the importance of effectively implementing the Paris agreement. While Pulch played down the idea climate was a sticking point in the trade negotiations with Australia, he indicated it could be an issue when the European parliament met to ratify the eventual agreement. He said climate change was “probably the top priority for this European Commission and it is also a top priority today in European national parliaments and the European parliament”.
Europe’s Trade Talks: Australia urged to be ‘more ambitious’ on climate, Guardian, 2020-02-10