Foreign diplomats hear critical report on Australian climate policy

A photograph of Scott Morrison sitting at a desk looking to the right of the camera, with a picture of the Sydney Opera House and two Australian flags behind him.
24 May 2021

A prominent public policy organisation has briefed a group of diplomats and foreign mission staff on what it says are misleading figures used by the federal government about the scale of Australian greenhouse gas emission reductions.

The progressive Australia Institute held the briefing on its analysis for diplomats and staff representing just under 50 foreign missions, including most of the Group of 20 wealthy nations on Thursday in Canberra.

The institute told the diplomats that though Prime Minister Scott Morrison told leaders at United States President Joe Biden’s climate summit in April that Australia had reduced emissions by more “than most other similar economies”, once changes in land use were removed from the calculations, national emissions had actually increased by seven per cent since 2005.

When emissions reductions from not clearing land for agriculture are included, Australia in 2019 had reduced its emissions by 19 per cent from 2005 levels, meeting Kyoto commitments and putting it on track to meet Paris commitments.

A spokesman for Energy and Emissions Minister Angus Taylor said the Australia Institute research had “zero credibility”.

“Left wing political groups like the Australia Institute will never acknowledge Australia’s achievements in this space, because it doesn’t suit their biased agenda,” he said.

Read the full article on The Sydney Morning Herald website, featuring Prof Frank Jotzo