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David Attenborough send message to Australia to act now on climate change as PM defends plan



Environmentalist David Attenborough has taken aim at Australia as the nation copped it in headlines over its plan to tackle major targets.

Environmentalist David Attenborough has taken aim at Australia as the nation copped it across world headlines overnight.

Attenborough was among the first to mention Australia directly in a warning ahead of a highly publicised global climate change summit, COP26, in Glasgow. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will also attend.

Attenborough took aim at “people in Australia” who claimed dramatic climate change events, including bushfires, were a “one-off”, as Mr Morrison used a late-night interview to pitch his newly-released climate plan, rejecting concerns the government has broken a promise not to increase climate targets.

Mr Morrison on Tuesday outlined his plan to reach net zero ahead of the major trip to the UN climate summit.

Under the plan, more than $20 billion will be invested in low emissions technologies including carbon capture and storage.

The Prime Minister also unveiled new projections, which if reached, could see Australia reduce emissions by 30 to 35 per cent by 2030.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated Australia for joining “a growing club” and said he was looking forward to seeing him again in just days.

The EU Commissioner’s Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis also called it a “positive signal”.

Yet Attenborough, speaking with the BBC’s David Shukman for his new series, The Green Planet, said people have a “moral responsibility” and outcomes could be “really catastrophic” if we don’t act fast.

“What climate scientists have been saying for 20 years, and that we have been reporting upon, you and I both, is the case – we were not causing false alarms,” he said.

“And every day that goes by in which we don’t do something about it is a day wasted. And things are being made worse.

“There are still people in North America, there are still people in Australia who say ‘no, no, no, no, of course it’s very unfortunate that there was that forest fire that absolutely demolished, incinerated that village, but it’s a one-off’.

“Particularly if it’s going to cost money in the short term, the temptation is to deny the problem and pretend it’s not there.

“But every month that passes, it becomes more and more incontrovertible, the changes to the planet that we are responsible for that are having these devastating effects.”

Attenborough has not been alone in his criticism.

Across in the United States, the New York Times said Australia’s “last-minute commitment” was “built on hope for new technology, and little else”.

CNN said Mr Morrison was “begrudgingly rolling out the weakest climate pledge of the world’s richest countries” and called out MP Keith Pitt, who won a cabinet position under the prime minister’s climate deal with the Nationals.

The Indian Express also deemed the net zero announcement “relatively late”, comparing it to New Zealand’s commitment back in 2019.

Meanwhile the BBC reported overnight Australia had been “widely criticised” for its ambiguous targets.

“It’s immensely frustrating, I don’t expect we’ll be getting much kudos at all in Glasgow,” Doctor Simon Bradshaw, Head of Research at the Climate Council, told BBC Radio.

“It’s been very clear from the UK, the Biden administration, certainly from our neighbours in the Pacific that they expect a lot more Australia.”

Doctor Bradshaw also appeared on CNBC in the US, urging Australia to “accelerate action now”.

Meanwhile, Liberal MP and Assistant Minister for Industry Energy and Emissions Tim Wilson appeared in a searing interview with the BBC where he proclaimed “we are going to do this the Australian way”.

The BBC’s Razia Iqbal ”roasted” Mr Wilson, claiming Australia “is not a responsible player on the international stage” and that the country falls “far, far behind all other developed countries when it comes to … a commitment to ending the dependency on fossil fuels.

Mr Wilson slammed the claims as false.

“It’s quite clear the government has not set any ambitious targets for 2030 which is a major objective for the global summit in Glasgow,” Iqbal questioned.

Mr Wilson said: “We’re going to do this the Australian way and make sure that we do things with the trust of the Australian people.

“It’s absolutely true, we’re not going to burn the village to save it. We know that coal doesn’t have a stronger future and so what we’re doing is laying the foundations and building new industries so Australia can be a renewable energy superpower.

“Other countries can talk big, the planet only cares about what you actually cut your emission.”

Over on the ABC, Energy Minister Angus Taylor appeared unable to name a single new emissions reduction policy contained in the Morrison government’s climate change “plan” during an interview on Tuesday night.

— with NewsWire’s Courtney Gould





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