Chris Bowen to chair Loss and Damage negotiations, Australia seen in ‘new light’ at global climate talks
“It won’t be easy co-faciliating with India which is traditionally a hard-line developing country advocate. India will push for an ambitious plan to extract as much as they can from developed countries.
Elsewhere at the conference pressure ramped up on Australia for its continued support for fossil fuels.
Organisers of a pledge to end government finance for overseas fossil fuel ventures – adopted by many nations at least year’s talks in Glasgow – had expected Australia to agree to it in Egypt.
Though 34 countries and five public finance institutions have signed the agreement, known as the Glasgow Statement, which potentially cuts $US28 billion a year in international public finance out of the fossil fuel sector, Australia has not.
At a function celebrating the first anniversary of the agreement British Climate Envoy John Murton told an audience that included diplomats and politicians from around the world: “If your country has not signed, and it is claiming to be a climate leader, then encourage them to sign.”
The Dutch Energy and Climate Minister, Rob Jetten echoed the message, saying “I would call upon everyone who has already signed, if you are having bilateral talks with a country that has not signed up, do not leave the room without asking them to sign”.
Australia is now a target of the campaign, said organiser Adam McGibbon, a strategist with a UK-based activist group Oil Change International.
“Australia is a key next candidate for the initiative,” he said. “Historically, it has not been a large provider of international public support for fossil fuel projects – providing an average of $US78 million per year in finance for fossil fuel projects between 2018 and 2020 through its export credit agency Export Finance Australia.”
But it is now the largest OECD country not to sign the Glasgow Statement, aside from Japan and Korea.
Campaigners believe that if Australia signed it would be easier to gain the support of Norway, before shifting focus to Japan and Korea.
Before the COP talks began it had been anticipated that Australia would announce it was joining the agreement during the talks, but a spokeswoman for Bowen said on Tuesday night that it was unlikely to happen. This does not mean Australia may not sign up in future, she said.
Get a note directly from our foreign correspondents on what’s making headlines around the world. Sign up for the weekly What in the World newsletter here.