Prime Minister Scott Morrison today had his first official chinwag with US President-elect Joe Biden, reiterating our nations’ close relationship and our shared commitment to, uh… meaningfully address climate change.
Speaking in Canberra today, Morrison confirmed he had a “very warm call” with Biden, their first discussion since the fella was called as the winner of this month’s US election.
“We both made clear our strong commitment to strengthening our alliance which will celebrate 70 years next year,” Morrison said, adding that he offered to roll out Australia’s welcome mat for whenever he Biden a chance to swing by.
Morrison said the relationship has been fostered by leaders from “many perspectives”, hinting at our relationship with President Donald Trump, a man who genuinely may be unable to locate Australia on a map.
On top of that, Morrison said the pair discussed COVID-19, which is only accelerating its rampage through the states, as well as “environmental challenges” faced by both nations.
Here’s where things get a bit interesting. Biden campaigned on a promise to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate and to reach net-zero emissions no later than 2050. It’s not perfect, and it’s not the kind of rapid deceleration from emissions that some of his Democratic Party colleagues have called for, but it’s a step towards climate sanity after Trump.
Then there’s the Morrison Government, which has championed a gas-powered economic recovery over renewable power sources – and claims current strategies will see Australia hit net-zero emissions some time at the tail end of the century.
— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) November 11, 2020
Morrison, for his part, said the pair discussed “emissions-reducing technologies.” But in a readout obtained by the ABC, Team Biden said the duo discussed “confronting climate change”. Subtle but notably different language, there.
Biden’s looming appointment to the top gig has encouraged climate-focused folks, who hope his presidency will eventually drag Australia into line. Morrison has already put a dampener on all of that talk though, telling reporters this week that “Australia will always set its policies based on Australia’s national interests and the contributions we’re making in these areas.”
On the bright side, at least we no longer have to acknowledge the fact President Donald Trump once called Morrison a “titanium man” during one of their little chitchats.
For what it’s worth, Morrison also refused to be drawn on Trump’s refusal to concede and his ongoing attempts to claim the election was rigged. Cool!