Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ended weeks of speculation by finally confirming he will attend the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow next month.
Mr Morrison had left it open whether he would attend the important meeting, which is expected to affirm international commitments to net zero emissions by 2050 and, potentially, set new targets for emissions reduction.
‘Overnight I confirmed my attendance at the Glasgow Summit which I’m looking forward to attending,’ Mr Morrison told reporters at Kirribilli House on Friday.
‘It is an important event. The Government will be finalising its position to take to the summit.
Scott Morrison has finally confirmed he will travel to Glasgow for the climate summit beginning on October 31
Mr Morrison has been in extended discussions in recent weeks with colleagues and Federal coalition partners, the National Party, about Australia’s policy on net zero emissions by 2050 and the stance the nation should take at the Glasgow conference.
It’s believed most National Party MPs are now resigned to Australia formalising a commitment to net zero by 2050, with a small rump of Queensland MPs resisting the move.
‘Are you going to have them all on the same page? Not a chance,’ Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce said earlier this week.
Mr Morrison’s announcement will be a relief to the Royal Family, with both the Queen and Prince Charles recently expressing exasperation over world leaders’ lack of commitment to the event.
The Queen was said to be ‘irritated’ by world leaders who had not indicated they would attend the upcoming summit.
The 95-year-old monarch’s comments on the topic were picked up while she was attending the opening of the Welsh parliament in Cardiff.
‘Extraordinary isn’t it… I’ve been hearing all about Cop… still don’t know who is coming… no idea,’ Her Majesty said.
‘We only know about people who are not coming… It’s really irritating when they talk, but they don’t do.’
Mr Morrison said he was focused on the ‘how’ of Australia meeting its 2050 Paris Agreement commitments, rather than the ‘if and ‘when.’
‘I am very focused on the how because the global changes that are happening in our economy as a result of the response to climate change have a real impact and they will have a real impact here in Australia,’ he said.
‘It is not just about hitting net zero. That is an important environmental goal.
‘What is important is that Australia’s economy goes from strength to strength.
‘Our position will be set out before I leave for Glasgow,’ he promised.
The Queen made a rare public intervention on the climate change crisis yesterday, saying she is ‘irritated’ by people who ‘talk but don’t do’
The 95-year-old monarch was speaking to the Duchess of Cornwall and Elin Jones, the parliament’s presiding officer, when her remarks were picked up on the event’s live stream
Among those still not confirmed to attend the UN’s Cop26 conference, which starts on October 31, are Chinese president Xi Jinping (left), and Russian leader Vladimir Putin (right)
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (left) and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro (right) have also not committed to being in Glasgow for the event
Prince Charles, Prince William and the Queen are all set to attend the conference, which starts on October 31 in the Scottish city.
The Queen, who was using a walking stick in public for the second time this week, expressed the remarks emphatically and gesticulated with her gloved hand.
Miss Jones replied: ‘Exactly. It’s a time for doing… and watching your grandson [Prince William] on the television this morning saying there’s no point going to space, we need to save the Earth.’
The Queen smiled proudly and said: ‘Yes, I read about it.’
The remarks were a rare public insight into the politically neutral – and tight-lipped – monarch’s personal views on an issue of global importance.
She attended the Welsh parliament alongside Camilla and the Prince of Wales, a committed environmentalist who made similar remarks this week.
The Queen did famously say she hoped ‘people will think very carefully about the future’ ahead of the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, which was viewed by many as a direct attempt to influence the vote.
Among those still not confirmed to attend the UN’s Cop26 conference are Mr Morrison, Chinese president Xi Jinping, and Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro have also not committed to being in Glasgow for the event.
Earlier this week Prince Charles told the BBC he was shocked the Australian Prime Minister may not be in attendance.
‘Scott Morrison, the Australian PM, isn’t even certain that he could make it to the meeting in Glasgow,’ the BBC reporter said during the interview.
‘I, is that what he says does he? Mmm,’ Charles responded. The Prince then said he is encouraging world leaders to attend the conference.
‘The point being that this is a last chance saloon. If we don’t really take the decisions that are vital now, it’s going to be almost impossible to catch up.
‘It will be a disaster. I mean it will be catastrophic. It is already beginning to be catastrophic because nothing in nature can survive the stress that is created by these extremes of weather.’
Mr Morrison has been negotiating with cabinet and backbench MPs over a new formal policy of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The monarch, 95, was joined for the reopening of Senedd by her son the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at the Welsh Parliament building in Cardiff
US President Joe Biden confirmed only this week that he will attend. America’s charge d’affaires to the UK, Philip Reeker, said the summit in Glasgow will be ‘a pivotal moment on the road towards a more secure, prosperous and sustainable future for our planet’.
Although the Queen has left environmental campaigning to her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, her son Charles, and grandson William, it is an issue she quietly takes a great interest in.
In a speech to the Scottish parliament earlier this month, she said: ‘Next month, I will be attending Cop26 events in Glasgow. The eyes of the world will be on the United Kingdom – and Scotland, in particular – as leaders come together to address the challenges of climate change.
‘There is a key role for the Scottish parliament, as with all parliaments, to help create a better, healthier future for us all, and to engage with the people they represent – especially our young people.’
In 2019, she used her Christmas speech to praise young climate change activists and their sense of purpose.
She has also introduced environmentally friendly initiatives at Buckingham Palace and other royal residences, including monitoring energy consumption through a network of smart meters, installing energy-efficient LED lighting where possible and using combined heat and power plants and boilers to convert natural gas into electricity.
Her Majesty’s remarks came after earlier this week Prince William hit out at billionaires such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos for pioneering space tourism over repairing the planet
William Shatner (centre), who is famed for his role as Captain Kirk in the 1960s sci-fi series, ventured 351,186 feet above Earth’s surface where he spent three minutes in weightlessness with astronauts Chris Boshuizen, Glen de Vries and Audrey Powers
The duke’s intervention came just hours after Star Trek’s William Shatner became the oldest person in space at the age of 90, following a journey aboard Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket
Windsor Castle gets 40 per cent of its electricity from two hydro-electric turbines on the River Thames, and the Queen famously used to go round turning the palace lights off.
Earlier this week, Prince Charles also expressed his frustration that the world’s leaders had taken ‘far too long’ to take action.
He said: ‘They just talk. The problem is to get action on the ground, which is what I’ve been trying to do for the last 40 years, by bringing together people from every kind of industry and walk of life, to try to create an awareness of what needs to be done.’
This week Prince William hit out at billionaires such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos for pioneering space tourism – when the world’s greatest brains and minds need to be ‘fixed on trying to repair this planet’.
The Duke of Cambridge, 39, appeared to rebuke the billionaire’s space race as he spoke about the current issues facing the climate during an interview with the BBC at Kensington Palace.
The duke’s intervention came just hours after Star Trek’s William Shatner became the oldest person in space at the age of 90, following a journey aboard Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.
In his interview about climate change, ahead of his inaugural Earthshot Prize awards, the duke said: ‘We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.’
Prince William criticised the race to leave Earth during an interview with BBC Newscast’s Adam Fleming at Kensington Palace
The prince praised his father The Prince of Wales (pictured), 72, as he warned that inaction on climate change will ‘rob from our children’s future’
The royal’s comments came just hours after Star Trek’s William Shatner became the oldest person in space at the age of 90, following a journey aboard Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos’s rocket
During his interview Prince William spoke about the importance of our actions now – as he warned that inaction on climate change will ‘rob from our children’s future’.
He said: ‘I want the things that I’ve enjoyed – the outdoor life, nature, the environment – I want that to be there for my children, and not just my children but everyone else’s children.
‘If we’re not careful we’re robbing from our children’s future through what we do now.
‘And I think that’s not fair. I want to use my little bit of influence… to highlight incredible people doing incredible things and will genuinely help fix some of these problems.’
He also raised his concerns about the climate conference in Glasgow next month.
He said: ‘I think for COP to communicate very clearly and very honestly what the problems are and what the solutions are going to be, is critical.
‘We can’t have more clever speak, clever words but not enough action.’
The father-of-three, who shares Prince George, eight, Princess Charlotte, six, and Prince Louis, three, with his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, said his father Prince Charles had a ‘a really rough ride’ but was ‘well ahead of the curve’ on the environment.
He said: ‘It’s been a hard road for [my father].
‘My grandfather started off helping out WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) a long time ago with its nature work and biodiversity, and I think that my father’s sort of progressed that on and talked about climate change a lot more, very early on, before anyone else thought it was a topic.
‘So yes, he’s had a really rough ride on that, and I think you know he’s been proven to being well ahead of the curve.’
The Amazon tycoon smiled at the Star Trek actor as he emerged from his capsule yesterday
The Duke of Cambridge announced the 15 finalists of his £50million Earthshot Prize last month
‘Well beyond his time in warning about some of these dangers.
‘But it shouldn’t be that there’s a third generation now coming along having to ramp it up even more.
‘And you know, for me, it would be an absolute disaster if George is sat here talking to you or your successor, Adam, you know in like 30 years’ time, whatever, still saying the same thing, because by then we will be too late.’
He added that his viewpoint had changed since he had his own children, saying: ‘I want the things that I’ve enjoyed – the outdoor life, nature, the environment – I want that to be there for my children, and not just my children but everyone else’s children.
‘If we’re not careful we’re robbing from our children’s future through what we do now. And I think that’s not fair.’
Cop26 is the deadline by which countries are expected to bring forward more ambitious plans, under a five-year cycle, to get the world on track to meet the Paris goals.
The 2015 Paris Agreement commits countries to keeping temperature rises to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit them to 1.5C – beyond which the most dangerous climate impacts will be felt.
The conference begins in Glasgow on October 31.
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