News National Australia bracing for storm at UN climate talks

Australia bracing for storm at UN climate talks

scott morrison
Scott Morrison looks longingly at a lump of coal in Parliament in February, 2017. Photo: AAP
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The minister responsible for Australia’s climate change targets is bracing for backlash at an international forum.

Meanwhile, a Pacific church leader attending the climate conference in Madrid has told Prime Minister Scott Morrison: “Each lump of coal is a nail in our coffins.”

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor insists Australia has an enviable record to present at the COP25 UN climate talks.

However, Australia’s plan to use an accounting loophole to meet its international emissions targets has been formally challenged, with about 100 countries wanting the practice banned under the Paris agreement.

“We meet and beat our targets and our track record is something all Australians can be proud of,” Mr Taylor said on Tuesday.

“It is important that no country is penalised for beating its target, either under the Kyoto or Paris – this is the basis for greater ambition.”

Mr Taylor is expected to deliver a statement at COP25 and meet counterparts from India, Singapore and Japan.

During a panel discussion overnight, Fijian clergyman and climate advocate James Bhagwan took aim at the Prime Minister.

He seized on an infamous image of Mr Morrison brandishing a lump of coal in parliament.

“As much as I love him as a Christian brother, each lump of coal represents a nail in our coffins and to our crosses,” Reverend Bhaghwan said.

Without singling Australia out, the Methodist leader used the Good Samaritan biblical story to describe the role of some nations in the region.

He said some nations claimed to be part of the “Pacific family” but left their neighbours “lying, bleeding, dying on the side of the road”.

“So the question is, who really is our neighbour in the geopolitical context of climate change?”