COP26 a 'cop out' on coal, Greens say, as 2030 climate targets move to COP27 in Cairo

PM explains net zero plan

Australia must return to United Nations climate talks to be held next year in Egypt with a new 2030 target, say the opposition and experts as the Glasgow talks wrapped up after two weeks of negotiations.

Australian government ministers welcomed international agreement on the Paris Agreement Rulebook and transparency requirements on nations' emissions reduction estimates.

The UN summit also agreed to return to talks next year in Egypt with targets aimed at reducing warming to "within reach" of 1.5 degrees needed to prevent climate catastrophe.

But the Greens have criticised Australia's role in watering down of efforts to end public subsidies for fossil fuel industries.

Angus Taylor discussed energy transition with US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm at Glasgow. The US is open to nuclear as part of that transition, but Australia is not. Picture: Supplied

Angus Taylor discussed energy transition with US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm at Glasgow. The US is open to nuclear as part of that transition, but Australia is not. Picture: Supplied

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne and Emissions Reductions Minister Angus Taylor said Australia's priority going into the COP26 talks was ensuring agreement on standardised transparency and cooperative carbon markets, known as Article 6 which will allow countries to trade their credits for going beyond their emissions reduction targets.

"Australia's emissions reporting and transparency is the gold standard and we expect all major emitters to display similar levels of transparency," Senator Payne said in a statement following the talks.

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The Australian government plans to spend $104 million buying carbon offsets from Pacific nations to help it reach the net zero by 2050 pledge it took to Glasgow. However, it did not update its 2030 emissions reduction targets of 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels.

Senator Payne said the government's latest emissions projections to 2030 will see Australia achieve up to a 35 per cent reduction, and Australia's emissions have reduced faster than any other major commodity exporting nation since 2005.

"Our emissions are now more than 20 per cent below 2005 levels and have fallen faster than many similar developed countries, including Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the United States, and faster than the OECD average."

The government's plan to reach net zero by 2050 only models for 85 per cent of the way to net zero, banking on unknown future technological developments to get it the final 15 per cent reductions.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said Australia's report card from Glasgow as "a definite fail ... more spin than substance" for turning up to Glasgow without new 2030 targets.

"What we have from the Prime Minister is pretending he cares about climate change, but at the same time, trying to run a scare campaign about action on climate change - and that just undermines the whole point," Mr Albanese told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young was in Glasgow for the talks, saying Australia must show up at the 2022 talks with a stronger 2030 target, because Australia's global reputation was "in tatters" after showing up at the talks spruiking a gas company and the "failed" carbon capture technology and lobbying to water down restrictions on coal and fossil fuel subsidies.

"Either Scott Morrison and the fossil fuel cronies in his cabinet just don't understand the climate crisis or they simply do not care," Senator Hanson-Young said.

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Monash Energy Institute's Professor Ariel Liebman called the agreement a significant step forward, albeit not as much as hoped. "I am optimistic that there is momentum to make COP27 a real turning point - that really is the last chance for the 1.5 degree target."

Professor Susan Harris Rimmer from the Policy Innovation Hub, Griffith University said Article 6 provisions for fossil fuels had too many carve outs and failed human rights. "We need to kick fossil fuel lobbyists out of the next COP in Cairo."

This story Coal 'cop out' angers Greens as target talks move to Cairo first appeared on The Canberra Times.