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‘Holdouts’: UN chief slams Australia


The UN Secretary-General used an address to a sustainability summit in London to take a public swipe at wealthy nations’ climate change policies, singling Australia out as a “holdout”. “If we want to stop global warming, we need to go to the source – the G20,” he said. “The developed and emerging economies of the G20 account for 80 per cent of all global emissions.“A growing number of G20 developed economies have announced meaningful emissions reductions by 2030 – with a handful of holdouts, such as Australia.”He said the Paris agreement to limit global warming to 1.5C was on “life support” but cautioned we could still act. “Keeping 1.5 alive requires a 45 per cent reduction in global emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by mid-century. That problem was not solved in Glasgow,” the UN chief said.But the Morrison government shrugged off the criticism on Tuesday. “The chattering classes of the UN can say what they want,” Communications Minister Paul Fletcher told the ABC. He said Australia was outperforming like-minded countries like the US, Canada and New Zealand. “We have beaten our Kyoto targets. We‘re very confident we’ll meet our Paris targets,” Mr Fletcher added. Mr Morrison went to the Glasgow climate summit last November without stronger 2030 targets and did not commit to phasing out coal. Instead, he pointed to projections that Australia could reach a 35 per cent emissions reduction by 2030.Mr Guterres slammed coal as a “stupid investment” and warned countries against sliding back to fossil fuels in response to the global energy shock caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “This is madness. Addiction to fossil fuels is mutually assured destruction,” he said. “As current events make all too clear, our continued reliance on fossil fuels puts the global economy and energy security at the mercy of geopolitical shocks and crises.”Pro-coal senator Matt Canavan accused the UN chief of being asleep at the wheel. “Europe has got itself into an absolute vulnerable mess because they failed to develop their own fossil fuels,” he told Sky News on Tuesday morning. “For the UN here, they are not only so hopeless on Ukraine … Now they’re actively undermining our peace and security, and we should totally ignore them.”

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