The Australian media has almost been falling over itself to note that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has praised Scott Morrison on Australia’s climate action. The Sydney Morning Herald which is usually denounced by the Murdoch Empire as far left, had the following headlines.
saying she “hailed Australia as a global leader on climate change” and “singled out Australia for praise”
This article actually points out the government is not doing much, but often the headline is the take-away.
Saying, “Absolutely no one expected Nancy Pelosi to stand there and say Scott Morrison has been a leader on climate change” predicting “some kind of deal made while he was here”
The Daily Telegraph:
This is a little bit of a beat up, It was not quite fulsome praise but hopefully it will help Morrison to move a little away from promoting gas and coal.
The PM in New York
This is what PM Morrison said in NY. This provides the context:
“our achievements in reducing emissions is an important story for Australia to continue to tell, because it’s our record of achievement that actually establishes the integrity of the commitments that we make. That we will meet and beat our 2030 targets, I was able to inform the President today. And that we will continue to work on our plan as to how we can continue to reduce emissions to zero well into the future.
As I indicated at the start of this year, it was our intention to do. Because in Australia it’s not enough to have a commitment to something. You’ve got to have a plan to achieve it. And this is an important part of the way we approach this task. You have a plan to meet your commitment. If you don’t have a plan, you don’t have a commitment.
And so we will continue to work through those issues. It was a good opportunity to discuss the important elements of that plan today, in particular technology, the hydrogen projects that we’re engaged in, which were announced particularly early this week, and the important role that hydrogen technology as well as CCUS battery technology and others are going to play, not just in advanced economies, but in developing economies as well.
We share a passion that developing economies, particularly in our region, in Indo-Pacific, will be able to develop their economies with a clean energy future, that they will be able to realise the jobs that advanced economies have, to develop their industrial base on the new energy technologies. And Australia wants to play a critical role in that. And we want to partner with countries to achieve it. This will be an important topic of discussion on Friday, particularly to the point that you’ve raised [which was, “was critical minerals and hydrogen discussed during the meeting?”]”Press Conference Prime Minister – New York, USA 22 Sep 2021 Transcript
The fact that the Government has avoided having a plan since they came to power over 9 years ago is not entirely irrelevant to the context, but let us assume they have suddenly discovered that planning can be useful and are now engaging in it.
He is still brandishing CCS or CCUS, which is about as failed a tech as its possible to get, but helps keep us burning coal and gas….
In my opinion, Pelosi had a choice. She could accuse him of lying and incompetence which is really bad diplomacy and likely to lock him into his current denial of a problem, or she can selectively choose his words to try and hold him too those words. This is what she said (Italics for emphasis):
Yesterday, I had the privilege of welcoming two heads of state, Boris Johnson – maybe some of you were at that presentation with Boris Johnson, Prime Minister Johnson – and then later in the day, in the morning, same morning, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia. Why I bring it up in association with climate is that they were so exuberant about the urgency of addressing the climate issues.
Of course, we thanked the Prime Minister of U.K. for hosting COP26. I just had the privilege of doing that at 10 Downing over the weekend when I was at the G7 Heads of Parliament and to see what was happening there in preparation for COP26. But then he made a presentation to our bipartisan leadership of his priorities and strongly, strongly, strongly talking about what the U.K. was doing in terms of climate.
And the Prime Minister of Australia, Morrison, he was saying we’re not only addressing the Paris Accords, we are – our slogan is ‘We Meet It and We Beat It.’
So, they’re [Boris and Scott] leading the way, and that’s what we all have to do, is meet our emissions responsibility and our financial responsibility to other countries so that when we leave COP26, having fulfilled our obligations to the Paris Accords, and then to go further.
It’s a health issue for our children: clean air, clean water. It’s a jobs issue for our country: green technologies, being preeminent in the world on those. It’s a security issue [important in terms of the newly signed sub agreement], because security experts tell us that migrations and the rest, rising sea levels, thermal management of the planet, drying up of rivers, encroachment of deserts [All Australian concerns], the list goes on, you know what they are, I think that is cause for competition and conflict over habitat and resources.
So it’s a security issue – health, jobs, security – and, of course, a moral issue, if you believe, as I do, that this is God’s creation, and we have a moral obligation to be good stewards [appeal to Religion]. But, even if you don’t share that view, we all agree that we have a responsibility to our children, grandchildren, future generations, to hand off the planet in a very responsible way.Transcript of Pelosi Weekly Press Conference in the Capitol Visitor Center 23 September 2021
So while Pelosi avoids criticism of the PM, and her statement does involve some praise, it seems to be more, “that’s what you have claimed to be doing, so please do it.” She also seems to praise Johnson more than Morrison.
Her approach may produce a better result than an attack, but we will have to see….