Scott Morrison has dismissed the importance of a global climate summit, seemingly confirming he has no plans for bolder ambitions and was therefore left off the speaker list.
The UK and the United Nations are partnering this weekend to host an online climate summit in lieu of the delayed in-person event which is now set for Glasgow next year.
Last week, the Prime Minister told parliament he looked forward to participating as it would be a great opportunity to “correct the mistruths” of Australia’s emissions reduction achievements.
But on Friday he dismissed the summit’s importance.
“Australia’s climate and energy policy will be set here in Australia in Australia’s national interests, not to get a speaking slot at some international summit,” he told parliament.
“What matters is what you get done and Australia is getting it done on emissions reduction.”
His comments came as the United States president elect Joe Biden looks set to take a stronger stand on climate, with former Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull highlighting a public statement by new climate envoy John Kerry.
The UN has consistently urged leaders to show up to climate meetings with more ambitious targets.
Mr Morrison has resisted pressure to commit to net zero emissions by 2050, instead flagging the nation would calculate reductions without using so-called carry over credits.
He boasted about new projections released on Friday.
At face value they show Australia isn’t on track to meet its first Paris agreement target of a 26 to 28 per cent reduction on 2005 levels by 2030.
The nation is on track for a 22 per cent reduction.
That changes when the “emissions budget” approach is used to calculate progress on targets, a method the government says is used by the UK and the European Union.
The projections cobble together modelling of key areas including electricity, agriculture and transport, to show Australia’s emissions are trending downward.
One scenario shows the Paris goal will be met if low emissions technologies outlined in the government’s technology road map are in use.
In this case, Australia’s 2030 emissions levels would be 29 per cent below 2005 levels.
Emissions are currently 16.6 per cent below the baseline year.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese described the carry-over plan as a farce.
“It was never going to be allowed,” he told ABC radio.
The projections assume air and car travel will rebound, but to lower levels than before the pandemic, due to an increase in video meetings and slowed population growth.
Gas production is projected to grow by three per cent while electric vehicles are expected to make up 26 per cent of new car sales by 2030.
A new report from the UN’s environment arm says temperatures are on track to rise by more than three degrees Celsius this century, even with a dip in emissions because of the health crisis.
Australia is mentioned as one of five G20 members whose climate ambitions are expected to fall short, along with Brazil, Canada, Korea and the US.