SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday he would attend the U.N. COP26 climate summit in Glasgow as his conservative government faces global pressure to take further action to cut carbon emissions.
Morrison had said he was unsure whether he would travel to the summit on Oct. 31-Nov. 12 because of the situation with COVID-19, but those concerns are easing as Sydney ends its quarantine requirements on Nov. 1.
World leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden are scheduled to attend the meeting in Scotland.
“I confirmed my attendance at the Glasgow summit which I’m looking forward to attending,” Morrison told a media conference in Sydney.
“The government will be finalising its position to take to the summit. We’re working through those issues.”
While many countries have pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, Australia – one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases on a per capita basis – has declined to firm up its targets.
Morrison has said Australia wanted to achieve net zero “as soon as possible and preferably by 2050” and it expects to beat its pledge to cut carbon emissions by 26% to 28% from 2005 levels by 2030.
Morrison is engaged in negotiations with the junior partner in his coalition government, the rural-based National party, about strengthening climate targets.
The National party, which is concerned about the impact of carbon targets on farming and coal mining, will meet on Sunday to discuss Morrison’s plan.
Morrison must face a general election by May 2022 and he needs to appease moderates in his Liberal Party pressing for climate action, while at the same time retaining support of the National party.
(Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Tom Hogue, Robert Birsel)