The Prime Minister is more likely to join world leaders at the Glasgow climate change conference now that a sweetener could be on the table.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is flip-flopping on attending the Glasgow climate change conference again and may now attend after he was lightly savaged by Prince Charles for threatening to be a no-show at the event.
Senior government sources have confirmed this morning that attending remains a live option, but they have firmly rejected the idea that the intervention by the heir to the British throne is a factor in Mr Morrison’s thinking.
Instead, they argue that a range of factors are contributing to his deliberations. This week, the Prime Minister is wrestling with the Nationals over the adoption of a new climate change target.
Prince Charles has warned world leaders – including Scott Morrison – that the Glasgow COP26 summit is a “last chance saloon” for climate change action, expressing surprise that the Australian Prime Minister may not even turn up.
Speaking in the gardens of his house on the Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire, Prince Charles has told the BBC that the world is facing a “disaster” and a “catastrophe”.
Prince Charles appeared genuinely taken aback at reports that the Australian Prime Minister might be a no-show at the Glasgow climate change conference.
“Scott Morrison, the Australian PM, isn’t even certain that he could make it to the meeting in Glasgow,’’ the BBC interviewer says during the interview.
“I, is that what he says, does he? Mmm,’’ Prince Charles responds. He then goes on to explain why he’s fought so hard to encourage world leaders to attend.
“The point being that this is a last chance saloon. If we don’t really take the decisions that are vital now, it’s going to be almost impossible to catch up,’’ he says.
“It will be a disaster. I mean it will be catastrophic. It is already beginning to be catastrophic because nothing in nature can survive the stress that is created by these extremes of weather.”
The Prime Minister has been gripped with indecision over whether to attend for weeks after he first flagged that he might not attend during his trip to the US last month.
At the time, he admitted the prospect of another fortnight in quarantine when he returns was not a prospect that delighted him.
On October 1, he noted it would be his fourth two-week quarantine stint in six months if he were to attend the summit, which he nonetheless described as very important.
“I will have spent, if I do that, a total of four times 14-day quarantine, basically, in this building, not being able to engage in my normal duties around the country as much as I would like to,’’ Mr Morrison said.
“That’s a long time for a prime minister to be in quarantine in a six-month period.”
However, with the NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet promising to fast-track home quarantine to seven days, the Prime Minister may end up being able to quarantine at home in Kirribilli in Sydney.
Once again, government sources say that’s not the only reason Mr Morrison may attend but it would be a sweetener if he could cut his quarantine time in half.
Mr Morrison has been savaged by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over hinting he may not even turn up to represent Australia at the climate change conference.
“History is made by those who turn up,’’ Mr Turnbull said, adding that if he didn’t go to Glasgow it would “send a strong message about his priorities”.
Mr Turnbull himself is promising to attend the Glasgow conference and he’s flying in mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s private jet to get there. His attendance means Mr Morrison’s visit is likely to be overshadowed by his predecessor’s outbursts at the international talks.
“We should be updating our 2030 target,” Mr Turnbull said. “That was always the intention to update these targets every five years and I am very disappointed the government has not done that, although I note the commitment of the New South Wales government for a larger cut in emissions by 2030.”
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