Australia’s entry into a “climate club” is expected to increase pressure on the government to improve action to cut emissions.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed at a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin that Australia had been invited to join the initiative.
“Australia and Germany are now united in our deep commitment to tackling climate change, and I commended chancellor Scholz on his development of Germany’s climate club and was pleased to confirm that Australia will join that high ambition initiative,” Mr Albanese said.
The club aims to increase international collaboration on climate action, and includes countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and the United States.
Climate Council research director Simon Bradshaw said it was an important initiative to decarbonise industry and pursue net zero emissions.
“But (it) must be backed by stronger steps at home to phase out fossil fuels and build the clean industries of the future,” he said.
“International collaboration is key to achieving the emissions reductions we need to combat the climate crisis.
“But we need to see any new international partnerships backed with real action.”
Dr Bradshaw said Australia’s emissions-reduction targets remained weaker than those for Europe, the US and other members of the club.
“We will now rightly see even more international pressure on Australia to up our game,” he said.
Last year, Australia committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 43 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
It is also aiming to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Germany is working towards net zero by 2045, setting a preliminary target of an 88 per cent reduction on 1990 levels by 2040.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said tackling climate change would help Australia improve its trade and business ties with Europe.
“Germany looks to us as a source for clean energy, clean hydrogen and the like,” he told Sky News on Tuesday.
“The opportunity for Australian industry in terms of supporting the energy needs of Germany … is massive.”
(Australian Associated Press)