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Tracking Australian Ministers and Australian pledges at COP27

Well I tracked Australian Ministers at Previous COPs, so only fair I also do so for COP27. 

See Melissa Price at COP24Angus Taylor at COP25. For Glasgow I started keeping an Australia at COP26 diary which featured a paragraph by paragraph deconstruction and rebuttal to Prime Minister Morrison’s speech. For COP21 and COP22 I was following social media and statements by  Julie Bishop regarding the COP.

Australia’s Ministerial representation at COP27 included Pat Conroy as Minister for International Development and the Pacific, present for the first week; Chris Bowen as Minister for Climate Change and Energy present for the second week; and Senator Jenny McAllister as Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy (Present for the second week).

Why didn’t Prime Minister Albanese attend? Well COP27 is more of a technical conference focussed  on the implementation of the Paris Agreement. While there was a 2 day high level segment in which about 100 leaders, Presidents and Prime Ministers flew in to attend, the political decisions to break deadlocks just weren’t there. The high level segment was primarily leader grandstanding. Adam Morton in The Guardian thinks It was an avoidable mistake for Anthony Albanese not to attend Cop27, in terms of maintaining climate momentum. I don’t think it was necessary for this COP.

Chris Bowen | Jenny McAllister | Pat Conroy | Pledges

Chris Bowen, Minister for Climate Change and Energy

November 15 – Chris Bowen spoke briefly at a UK COP26 Presidency event at COP27 Sharm El-Sheikh on Putting Promises into Practice: Accelerating the Clean Energy Transition. His comments were about addressing upgrading Australia’s grid transmission network to enable greater integration of solar and wind to achieve the 82% renewables target by 2030. He also talked about the Sun-cable project to build solar farms in Australia’s north to export the power by submarine cable to supply up to 20% of Singapore’s electricity needs.

November 15 – Australian climate minister to target World Bank’s response to crisis in Cop27 speech (Guardian) Chris Bowen’s major address at the Cop27 will call out the World Bank for failing to address the climate crisis, and join calls for the international financial system to be reshaped. Bowen will also declare that Australia is back as a “constructive, positive, and willing climate collaborator” since the Anthony Albanese-led Labor party ousted Scott Morrison’s rightwing coalition, which was widely criticised as a roadblock at climate negotiations. According to an advance copy of the speech released by his office, Bowen would not outline new climate funding or policies.

November 13 – Deal on ‘loss and damage’ unlikely at COP, says Chris Bowen (SMH) 
The world is unlikely to come to an agreement at COP27 talks in Egypt over contentious calls for wealthy nations to pay loss and damage compensation to developing countries, says Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen reports Nick O’Malley for the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Minister would not detail what Australia’s stance would be as ministerial negotiations commenced on Monday. “Let’s just see how the internal discussions go. But I mean, I doubt very much it’ll be a full agreement on that at this COP,” he said.

The SMH reports says:
Bowen rejected criticism made by Greenpeace over the weekend that Australia was one of a small handful of nations using “blocking language” in negotiations so far to delay an outcome. “Loss and damage” payments have been opposed by some wealthy nations, including the US, for fear of conceding culpability for climate change.
“That is just not correct. And with due respect, [Greenpeace is] not in the discussions, they are just not in the room,” he said.

November 8: Greenpeace had two questions for Chris Bowen before he departed for COP27 in Egypt:

SYDNEY, Tuesday 8th November 2022 – Over the weekend, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen announced Australia’s bid to co-host COP31 in 2026 with Pacific nations, and Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Pat Conroy has supported the inclusion of Loss and Damage on the COP27 agenda. 

Greenpeace Australia Pacific has two questions we believe Chris Bowen should answer before he jets off for COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Question 1: One of the most prevailing demands of the Pacific nations Australia is looking to co-host COP26 with is for major emitting countries like Australia and the US to financially compensate for the damage caused by climate change. What are the Albanese Government’s plans for addressing loss and damage finance?

Currently, there is no dedicated fund or funding facility for countries experiencing loss and damage. A Loss and Damage Finance Facility has been championed by countries in the developing world including the Pacific since the 1990s, to ensure the mobilisation and coordination of funds for climate-impacted countries. Australia, along with the US and EU has been a historic blocker of such a facility. At COP26 Australia joined the US and EU in doing so again, instead offering The Glasgow Dialogue, a three-year discussion process without clearly defined milestones or outcomes. 

Question 2: The Vanuatu Government is pursuing an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice on the human rights impacts of climate change, which has been offered in-principle support from all members of the Pacific Island Forum, including Australia. Considering that co-hosting a COP requires unprecedented levels of alignment, will Australia vote yes on the advisory opinion?

The International Court of Justice can issue advisory opinions which inform the development of international law. In this case, force governments to consider the human rights impacts of climate policy, which would help compel more ambitious action under the Paris Agreement.

The campaign for an ICJAO has generated global support. It stands on the precipice of a historic vote at the UN General Assembly, where it must secure a majority of votes to be referred to the ICJ.

Ahead of COP27, Germany, New Zealand, Vietnam and several other nations have stepped up as high-level country champions, and advocating for a yes vote at the UNGA. Australia has offered in-principle support as part of the Pacific Islands Forum, but has yet to commit to voting yes.

Media releases and commitments associated with COP27

11 November 2022 – Joint media release: Australia endorses Glasgow Breakthrough Agenda on Agriculture

Australia has endorsed the Glasgow Breakthrough Agenda on Agriculture (GBAA) at COP27.

11 November 2022 – Joint media release: Australia joins International Mangrove Alliance for Climate

Australia will join the Mangrove Alliance for Climate further strengthening the country’s global leadership on climate action and blue carbon.

8 November 2022 – Joint media release: Australia joins forests partnership to drive climate action

Australia has become a founding member of the Forests and Climate Leaders Partnership, a new international group to accelerate the contribution of forests to global climate action.

Senator Jenny McAllister, Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy

Pat Conroy, Minister for International Development and the Pacific


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