The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (aka COP26) came to a close over the weekend, after two very full-on weeks of the world realising the clock is well and truly ticking on the planet’s natural world.
In the last days of the summit, the Glasgow Climate Pact was formed, which pushes for more urgent emissions cuts and an actual plan to reduce the production of coal.
The last two weeks, however, involved a display of truly embarrassing performances by the people representing the Australian government (read: Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor). From being ranked dead last on climate policy to lauding an entire coal company at the conference, there was a lot happening in the Australian corner of COP26, and it didn’t make us look good on the global stage.
We thought we’d round up and present every truly head-in-hands embarrassing moment from the last fortnight at the climate change summit for your enjoyment and/or detriment.
Australia Refused To End Coal Power At COP26
A big part of the summit was the discussion around seriously moving away from fossil fuels and into cleaner sources of power. About halfway through the COP26 summit, 190 countries across the globe all agreed on phasing out coal power and new power stations for the fossil fuel. Australia wasn’t one of those countries.
BREAKING NEWS: 190 countries and organisations have signed onto the ‘Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement’ commits signatories to both phase out coal power and end support for new coal power stations. Australia did not sign on. #COP26 pic.twitter.com/XsKQIphWOR
— Climate Council (@climatecouncil) November 4, 2021
Here in Glasgow today it’s “Coal Day”. Over 40 countries have signed up to stop using coal and banks have agreed not to fund new projects – a push lead by the UK.
But Australian Govt has refused to join.
Today’s is a good day for the planet but a bad day for Australia. #COP26
— 💚🌏 Sarah Hanson-Young (@sarahinthesen8) November 4, 2021
The final product of the COP26 conference – the Glasgow Climate Pact – leans more on the idea of significantly reducing coal power instead of phasing it out completely. It was claimed that in the lead-up to the pact being agreed upon, Australia was pushing to change the language around coal specifically, allowing production to continue in some capacity.
Angus Taylor Referenced Sir David Attenborough To Promote Fossil Fuels
YOU GET THAT PRECIOUS MAN’S NAME OUT OF YOUR MOUTH.
Today at #COP26 Australia’s Energy Minister @AngusTaylorMP had the cheek to mention Sir David Attenborough at an event which promoted an unproven multi-billion dollar technology that is designed to prolong and expand the life of gas – a dirty polluting fossil fuel. #EyesOnCOP26 pic.twitter.com/1fhnTRdeJS
— Freya Cole (@freya_cole) November 2, 2021
Australia’s Pavilion Showed Off A Literal Fossil Fuel Company
The Australia section of the conference stalls was literally promoting Santos, the second-largest oil and gas producer in the country. It had a large model of the company’s “carbon capture and storage” at Moomba in South Australia, and the government’s pitch of a technology-led approach.
Australia puts fossil fuel company Santos front and centre at Cop26 | Imagine sitting in the meeting where they said “yep, great idea let’s have a gas company sponsor and frontline our global climate change stall.” https://t.co/MfKxo7cZnm
— David Shoebridge (@DavidShoebridge) November 3, 2021
But hey, at least the Australia stall had the best coffee, I guess?
— Australia Institute (@TheAusInstitute) November 11, 2021
Australia Won The Colossal Fossil Award
Throughout the entire conference, Climate Action Network – a non-profit collective of environmentalist organisations from over 130 countries – were handing out daily “Fossil Of The Day” awards.
For starters, Australia came runner-up on each of the first two days. We were (rightfully) slapped for our lack of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to curbing climate change, pushing coal and fossil fuel production, and initiating conversation on 10 new areas for offshore petroleum exploration on top of the amount of coal and gas the country exports.
🇬🇧#COP26 UK Presidency for failing to make it the ‘the most inclusive COP ever’
🇦🇺 Australia – a close 2nd, for lack of ambitious NDCs, 3 new coal projects and no plans to phase out fossils
— Climate Action Network International (CAN) (@CANIntl) November 1, 2021
In second place, the 2nd ????#FossiloftheDay???? Award???? goes to…
???????? Australia for initiating talks 10 new areas for offshore petroleum exploration – on top of already being a top exporter of coal and gas ????
— Climate Action Network International (CAN) (@CANIntl) November 6, 2021
After netting a total of five (5) Fossil awards, the Climate Action Network actually pinned Australia as the overall winner (read: loser) of COP26. Australia was handed the Colossal Fossil award for expanding fossil fuel production in the face of environmental collapse and simply having “no ambition” when it comes to climate change. Cool!
The ultimate🏆#FossiloftheDay Awards🏆 go to…
🇦🇺Australia COLOSSAL FOSSIL for no ambition + fossil fuel expansion
🇺🇸US – 2nd for domestic coal, oil & gas
🇬🇧UK – 3rd for making #COP26 NOT “the most inclusive COP ever”
— Climate Action Network International (CAN) (@CANIntl) November 12, 2021
COP26 Protesters Called Morrison A “Climate Criminal”‘
Being lumped in with Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Brazil’s Jair Bolsanaro, China’s Xi Jinping? Not a good look!
— 💧PoliticsAustralia (@AustraliaVote) November 6, 2021
Once again, another simply stellar performance on the world stage from Australia. You simply love to see it. Now to stare into the void for a while to try and forget how incredibly embarrassing this all is.