by Eric Worrall
The Guardian fantasising how Biden might use the USA’s economic might to bully other nations on climate policy.
Biden as president would pursue climate ‘cheaters’ – and Australia could be among them
Scott Morrison has resisted a call to action from the UK – but the US would be hard to ignore
Wed 4 Nov 2020 10.46 AEDT
Whether Donald Trump loses or wins the presidential election, the US will officially withdraw from the Paris agreement on Wednesday. The US intention to withdraw was announced in mid-2017 and, exactly one year ago, formal notification was sent to the United Nations. It caps off four years of winding back climate action and the systematic dismantling of pollution safeguards across the country.
Within his first 100 days, Biden has committed to convene a climate world summit to directly engage the leaders of the major carbon-emitting nations of the world to persuade them to join the United States in making more ambitious national pledges, above and beyond the commitments they have already made. From the US, we could see a new, more ambitious emission reduction target than its underwhelming 26-28% by 2025 (if that sounds familiar, it’s because Australia has the exact same underwhelming target range but for 2030, and without the desire to improve it).
Importantly, Biden will pursue countries seen as “cheating” on climate action, using “America’s economic leverage and power of example”. Given the Morrison government’s insistence on using leftover carbon credits to avoid any credible emission reductions over the next decade – dubbed by the former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres as “cheating” and by numerous Australian law professors as legally baseless – Australia may be a target of that pursuit.
Morrison claims, “Our policies won’t be set in the United Kingdom, they won’t be set in Brussels, they won’t be set in any part of the world other than here.” I wouldn’t be so sure. When former president Obama pressured the Abbott government to do more on climate change in 2014, it had an impact. Let’s see what happens when Washington calls again.
Richie Merzian is director of the climate & energy program at independent think-tank The Australia Institute
Second time in a week the Guardian has called on Biden to bully Australia on climate policy. Australia soundly rejected climate radicalism when we chose Scott Morrison over the climate first manifesto of then opposition leader Bill Shorten. But climate radicals like the Guardian are happy to celebrate the possibility the democratic will of the Australian people could be trampled if Biden wins.