Sydney, Australia, Nov 2 (EFE).- Australia, one of the most polluting countries in the world per capita, managed to only just commit to the neutral gas emissions goal for 2050 ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, but without a binding commitment and without giving up coal.
Devastating fires, torrential rains and prolonged drought are getting worse in this vast country-continent, but Australia is one of the largest exporters of coal in the world and this industry has strong supporters in the government.
According to official data, Australia produced 507 million tons of coal in 2019, of which more than 80 percent exported to other countries, and that year emitted 16.71 tons of CO2 per capita, surpassing countries such as the United States, Japan, China and UK.
Australian environmentalists and scientists believe the government’s climate objective is insufficient, since they believe the neutrality of polluting gas emissions should be reached in 2035 to alleviate the climate crisis.
They were also concerned about Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who said he would not improve his Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement, which means reducing emissions by 26-28 percent by 2030.
“The fact that there is no change in the (contribution) is perhaps the clearest sign that the commitment is not serious,” Global Carbon Project director Josep Canadell told EFE from Canberra, adding that the zero emissions announcement is not legally binding.
Morrison, who in 2017 took a piece of coal to parliament saying “do not be afraid” when he was Treasury Minister, said emissions have been reduced in 2020 and that the country is on track to reduce emissions up to 35 percent by 2030.
However, part of this progress has been made possible thanks to the global shutdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government hopes to achieve neutral emissions with a million-dollar investment plan in less polluting energies such as green hydrogens, the absorption of CO2 in the soil and the development of technologies that are expensive or do not exist.
“It is not a plan, it is a scam,” Labor leader Anthony Albanese said, adding to the criticism of the coalition government, which came to power in 2014 under former Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Abbot was known for having said climate change “may even be beneficial” because more people die from cold waves than from heat.