Sydney, Australia, Sep 27 (EFE).- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is still undecided on attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in the Scottish city of Glasgow in November.
Morrison has said the reason for his indecision is the two-week quarantine he would have to undergo on his return.
“We have not made any final decisions. It is another trip overseas. I have spent a lot of time in quarantine,” Morrison told the West Australian newspaper late Sunday.
Australia has made a 14-day quarantine period mandatory for international travelers due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Morrison has just returned from a tour of the United States.
The refusal of the more conservative wing to adopt a net-zero carbon emissions target has divided his coalition government, saying that it would affect the mining and agricultural sectors.
In an interview with public broadcaster ABC on Monday, Foreign Minister Marisa Payne said that “Australia will be strongly represented at the conference no matter by which senior Australian representative and our commitment is very clear.”
Australia is one of the largest exporters of coal and gas and hence one of the biggest per-capita greenhouse gas emitters.
The doubt regarding Morrison’s participation in COP26, which will set global emissions targets, comes amid an intense debate in Australia about the lack of clarity of its climate policy.
Morrison has reiterated on several occasions that Australia would meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels and its intention to achieve the global aim of emission neutrality by 2050, but without committing to it.
The Morrison administration, who has come under pressure from the United States and the United Kingdom to commit more to the fight against climate change, also fears that Australia will lose access to the financial system if investors perceive a lack of clarity in the transition to clean energies.
“Australia has a lot at stake. We cannot run the risk that markets falsely assume we are not transitioning in line with the rest of the world,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a speech to the Australian Industry Group in Melbourne on Friday.
Currently, Morrison is negotiating with the National Party to endorse a target of net-zero emissions even as the sticking point continues to be coal, one of the main exports and a key source of electricity generation in Australia.
“We have record sales at record prices. We have England reopening coal fire power stations because they cannot keep the lights on,” Australian Deputy Prime Minister and National Party leader Barnaby Joyce told ABC Sunday. EFE