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Thu Sep 9, 2021, 08:48 AM Sep 2021

Anger Growing About UK Dumping Australia's Climate Targets, Despite All Of Bojo's Green Promises

Green groups and opposition MPs have responded angrily to news the UK government has agreed to drop binding climate targets from the planned UK-Australia trade deal, accusing Ministers of "a massive betrayal of our country and our planet". Sky News reported yesterday that it has seen emails that show Ministers agreed to remove a specific reference to the temperature goals contained in the Paris Agreement from the trade deal.

The email from a senior official at the Cabinet Office states: "As flagged in my note to [Brexit Secretary] Lord Frost, the Business and Trade Secretaries were due to speak yesterday. We haven't yet seen the formal read out, but we understand the conversation took place and the Business Secretary has agreed that, in order to get the Australia FTA [free trade agreement] over the line, DIT can drop both of the climate asks (ie on precedence of Multilateral Environmental Agreements over FTA provisions and a reference to Paris Agreement temperature goals.)"

The trade deal is expected to include a reference to the Paris Agreement, which Australia is a signatory to. But environmental campaigners accused the government of drastically reducing the pressure on Australia to come forward with a climate strategy that was in line with the temperature goals of the international climate accord. Australia is one of a handful of industrialised nations not to set an overarching net zero target and has been repeatedly accused of failing to come forward with a credible decarbonisation strategy.

At the same time, the UK government has repeatedly stressed it plans to deliver a "green Brexit" and that subsequent trade deals would not water down environmental standards. The UK-EU trade deal did contain a provision that would trigger the suspension of the agreement if either side breaches its commitment to the Paris Agreement. However, concerns have remained widespread among environmental groups that trade deals that fail to embed robust climate and environmental conditions could undermine both the Paris Agreement and the UK's domestic standards.



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