Guest essay by Eric Worrall
What a shocker – Australia is not rushing to meet John Kerry’s request to give up one of our main export industries on the timeframe of Kerry’s choosing.
Joe Biden’s climate envoy admits US and Australia not on ‘same page’
John Kerry’s comments, including a call for a faster exit from coal power, add to pressure on the Coalition to do more
In an event last weekend marking his country’s return to the Paris agreement, Kerry said the US needed to regain credibility by adopting a strong new target for 2030, due to be announced in April. He said he would work “in a collegiate manner with other countries around the world”, before specifically mentioning Australia and the part it played at a deadlocked 2019 climate conference.
“For instance, I’ve talked to Australia – we had a very good conversation,” Kerry said in an extended conversation with former US vice-president Al Gore posted online over the weekend.
“Australia has had some differences with us, we’ve not been able to get on the same page completely. That was one of the problems in Madrid as you recall, together with Brazil.”
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, discussed climate policy with his Australian, Japanese and Indian counterparts in last week’s Quad talks.
Biden said late last week countries could “no longer delay or do the bare minimum to address climate change” because it was “a global, existential crisis, and we’ll all suffer the consequences if we fail”.
…Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/feb/24/joe-bidens-climate-envoy-admits-us-and-australia-not-on-same-page
Far from cutting coal use, I strongly suspect the Biden administration will preside over the greatest surge in coal demand the world has ever seen.
China and Japan, for all their faults, are doing what the West refused to do – building thousands of new coal plants, helping Africa, Asia and South America to rapidly industrialise, helping them to raise their standards of living to Western levels. In a decade, the smoke of Australian, South African and South American coal will rise over new industrial heartlands in what today are some of the poorest places in the world.
Even people who aren’t connected to the growing electricity grid and new manufacturing and trade hubs will benefit, as rising CO2 fertilises their crops, and shields their crops from droughts.
Nobody has the diplomatic stature to block the path of poor people who have tasted a little hope, not even the President of the USA – and certainly not John Kerry. But if the USA goes out of its way to place obstacles in the path of progress, people will remember.
Let us all hope and celebrate the possibility of 450ppm CO2 by 2030. Because every increase in the rate of rise of atmospheric CO2 is unequivocal proof that a poverty stricken country has finally begun its long march to join the ranks of the wealthy nations, begun its journey to bring hope to its children of a better future.