Documents leaked to Unearthed, Greenpeace’s investigative platform, are claimed to reveal that the Australian Government has actively lobbied for the rejection of findings outlining the need for the rapid global phasing out of coal.
The environmental organisation says the Government wanted the findings removed from the next major report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
According to Greenpeace, the leaked documents reveal how Australia is part of a small group of fossil fuel-producing countries, including Saudi Arabia and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), who are lobbying the IPCC – the world’s leading authority on climate change – to water down findings and delete a key conclusion that the world needs to rapidly phase out fossil fuels.
Comments are a window into national positions
IPCC scientists are under no obligation to accept the comments, and each of them is checked against the scientific literature. However, the comments provide a window into the positions being adopted by leading nations behind the scenes, the organisation said in a statement.
In one comment seen by Unearthed, a senior Australian government official is said to have rejected a claim that one of the most important steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to phase out coal-fired power stations.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO, David Ritter, said the leaked documents reveal the extent of the Morrison Government’s attempts to derail global climate progress.
“These leaked documents reveal the shameful lengths the Morrison Government will go to [in order] to protect fossil-fuel interests and damage global efforts to reduce emissions and safeguard the climate,” he said.
Morrison Government officials ‘in sabotage mode’
“What we see in these leaked documents is Morrison Government officials in sabotage mode, rather than acting in good faith with the best interests of the Australian people to collaborate to secure ambitious global climate cooperation.
“Scott Morrison has rejected setting a stronger 2030 emissions reduction target for Australia, and now we know his government is pushing back against key recommendations by the world’s leading climate science body on the need to phase out coal over the next decade.”
Greenpeace claims that, in one comment, an Australian government official suggests Australia be deleted from a list of the world’s major producers and consumers of coal – despite Australia being the fifth-largest coal producer in the world between 2018-21 – on the grounds that it does not consume as much coal as other countries.
“The Australian government even goes as far as arguing against the need for a coal phase out while also trying to rewrite history by denying the role of corporate lobbying in blocking climate action,” Greenpeace International Executive Director, Jennifer Morgan, said.