Australia Will Be Under Pressure To Address Climate Change Inaction Following Joe Biden’s Win
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a congratulatory message to Joe Biden over the weekend after his historic win in the 2020 US Election.
The President-Elect has promised to go in hard on climate issues during his administration and says he will rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement on his first day in office.
Experts reckon this attitude towards climate and the environment will likely create a bit of tension with Australia, unless our policies are amended.
Australian National University Research Council Fellow Christian Downie wrote for The Conversation, saying: "The ambitious climate policies of a Biden administration means in every international negotiation our diplomats turn up to, climate change will not only be top of the agenda, but we will likely face constant criticism.
"Indeed, fireside chats in the White House will come with new expectations that Australia significantly increases its ambitions under the Paris agreement. Committing to a net zero emissions target will be just the first."
Mr Downie adds that Joe Biden is keen on introducing tariffs on imports that produce loads of carbon pollution. Considering the US is one of Australia's biggest trading partners, businesses back home could be stung with higher tariffs under a Biden administration.
Australia has enjoyed the last four years of a Trump administration that took the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement and saw lacklustre statements from the President about climate science.
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That will drastically change under a Biden Presidency, which has previously said climate change is the 'No 1 issue facing humanity'.
Howard Bamsey, Australia's former special envoy on climate change, told the Guardian Australia will be under a lot of pressure to act on climate change if they want to keep their third largest trading partner happy.
"There's no cover any longer with this. I think in Joe Biden's first conversation with Scott Morrison, or the second, climate change will be mentioned. It's been such an important part of his campaign and he clearly recognises the economic imperative for change," he said.
The Climate Change Authority recommended countries attempt to cut emissions between 45 and 60 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030. Australia has committed to doing a 26 to 28 per cent cut.
Since the Coalition was elected in 2013, official data shows national emissions fell just 2.2 per cent prior to Covid-19 and Australia will likely miss its 2030 target unless drastic measures are taken.
It will be an interesting conversation between Morrison and Biden when they eventually talk.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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