Laurence Tubiana, a respected French diplomat and economist, arriving for international climate talks in Paris in 2015. Photo: Philippe Wojazer / AP

By Nicole Hasham
3 October 2018

(The Sydney Morning Herald) – A key architect of the landmark Paris climate deal has lambasted the Coalition government’s inaction on greenhouse gas emissions, saying it “goes against the science”, squanders economic opportunity and risks Australia’s international standing.

Laurence Tubiana, a respected French diplomat and economist, also says Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s claim that Australia will meet its Paris targets “at a canter” is contradicted by international scientific opinion.

Her comments follow an official report on Friday showing Australia’s climate pollution rose by 1.3 per cent in the year to March – the highest quarterly rise in eight years. The troubling findings were released on the eve of the long weekend in some states and on the same day as the banking royal commission interim report - timing critics say was designed to bury the report.

Since assuming the prime ministership last month Mr Morrison has dumped the National Energy Guarantee, which would have curbed emissions from the electricity sector, and declared Australia would not join other signatories to the Paris deal in ratcheting up emissions reduction targets by 2020 in line with climate science.

Ms Tubiana is a former French ambassador for international climate negotiations who played a major role in brokering the 2015 Paris treaty. She is now chief executive of the European Climate Foundation.

She described as “concerning” Mr Morrison’s refusal in the next parliamentary term to revise the Paris targets beyond Australia’s current commitment – a 26 per cent cut by 2030, based on 2005 levels.

She said most emission reduction commitments made at the Paris talks, including Australia’s, were “insufficient” to achieve the goals of the treaty - which aims to keep global warming to well below 2°C - and the international community expected Australia to go further.

“[Mr Morrison's stance] goes against the science, spirit and letter of the Paris agreement. As we see other countries preparing to increase their levels of ambition, I strongly urge Australia not to fall behind,” Ms Tubiana told Fairfax Media.

“The Australian government, along with all others, needs to listen to the science and the economics, and lead the country towards decarbonisation.

“Failure to do so will have profound consequences on the country’s standing in the international community and its future prospects in terms of innovation and economic opportunity.” [more]

Architect of Paris climate accord says Morrison government's emissions stance is 'anti-science'



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