Guest essay by Eric Worrall
UN climate chief Christiana Figueres appears to be doing the rounds, attempting to drum up support for meaningful Paris climate pledges – which currently fall far short of what climate apparatchiks wanted. The latest stop on her tour is a visit to Australia.
According to the Guardian;
The UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres, has said there was “no space” for new coal developments and stressed the benefits of ambitious renewable energy targets after a meeting with representatives from seven Australian governments.
At the meeting in Adelaide, organised by the South Australian government, federal, state and territory administrations agreed to work more closely to drive an uptake in renewable energy, coordinate energy-efficiency schemes and help communities adapt to climate change.
Figueres, the executive secretary of the United Nations framework convention on climate change, urged the states and territories to work with the federal government to help deliver a “strong” global agreement at key climate talks in Paris in December.
The meeting was attended by the environment ministers of the Labor-run states and territories – Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and the ACT. The federal government, Tasmanian and New South Wales governments were represented at “senior official level”, and Western Australia and the Northern Territory were absent.
On the surface support for Figueres might seem enthusiastic, at least in some quarters, but even the Aussie climate enthusiasts have their problems. For example, the Queensland State government, arugably the greenest government in Australia, governs with a razor thin majority, due to the support of 2 independents. Queensland is heavily dependent economically on the mining industry, including large scale coal enterprises. So if the Queensland government leans too heavily on the mining industry, the backlash could cost them their political majority.
China’s joke climate pledge – a free pass to undermine everyone else’s carbon hamstrung economies until 2030 – has probably helped to restrain enthusiasm for more serious Paris commitments.