Thousands of leaked documents reportedly show Australia lobbying hard for concessions in a huge UN report.
Thousands of leaked documents reportedly show that Australia was one of a number of countries that lobbied the United Nations to play down the need to move rapidly away from fossil fuels.
BBC News reports that it has seen 32,000 submissions made by governments, companies and other interested parties to the team of scientists compiling a UN report designed to create a road map for countries on how to tackle climate change.
The documents reportedly suggest that Australia asked IPCC scientists to delete a reference to analysis about how fossil fuel lobbyists watered down climate change action in Australia and the US.
The BBC reported that Australia, Saudi Arabia and Japan have been lobbying the UN for a more favourable ruling on fossil fuels.
In the documents, Australia reportedly argued that the world does not need to reduce fossil fuels as quickly as the current draft of the report recommends.
The BBC reported that one senior Australian government official rejected the UN view that closing coal-fired power plants was necessary.
The leaked lobbying throws a cloud over the COP 26 conference in Glasgow in November where one of the objectives is to end the use of coal.
Australia is one of the world’s leading coal exporters.
The BBC reports that Australian officials, along with counterparts in Saudi Arabia, China and Japan, also pushed carbon capture and storage (CCS), which they argued could dramatically cut fossil fuel emissions from power plants.
The documents reportedly state that Australia, Switzerland and India all questioned financially supporting developing countries to meet their emissions reduction targets.
Australian officials said developing countries’ climate pledges do not all depend on receiving outside financial support.
The UN report, produced every six to seven years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), uses the submissions from countries to craft its final report.
In a statement to the BBC, the IPCC said there was no pressure on scientists to accept the comments by governments.
“Our processes are designed to guard against lobbying – from all quarters”, the IPCC said. “The review process is (and always has been) absolutely fundamental to the IPCC’s work and is a major source of the strength and credibility of our reports.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he will now attend the COP 26 UN climate conference next month after weeks of initial hesitation.
The conference will ask countries to make significant commitments to slow down climate change and keep global warming to 1.5 degrees.
Mr Morrison is hopeful of working out a deal on net zero emissions reduction target over the next 48 hours with the Nationals, who met last night to consider structural adjustment principles.
The Nationals will meet again on Sunday before federal parliament resumes next week and Liberals hope the party will sign off on the net zero commitment then.