COP26: Scott Morrison to attend Glasgow climate summit

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will attend the Glasgow climate summit. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will attend the Glasgow climate summit. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed he will attend the Glasgow climate summit after weeks of domestic and international pressure.

But what climate policies Australia takes to the crunch conference - including a possible net zero by 2050 commitment - remain up in the air amid ongoing talks between the Liberals and Nationals.

But Mr Morrison has again sought to reassure the Nationals that regional Australia will be protected during the transition to net zero.

"The plan that I'm taking forward, together with my colleagues, is about ensuring that our regions are strong, that our region's jobs are not only protected but they have opportunities for the future," he said on Friday.

Mr Morrison has for weeks refused to confirm his attendance at the UN summit, prompting rebukes from figures including former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Prince Charles.

Queen Elizabeth was even caught on camera chiding world leaders yet to commit to the event, which UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described as a "turning point for humanity" due to the urgent need to tackle global warming.

Mr Morrison said on Friday that he looked forward to attending the "important event".

The Prime Minister has been under intensifying pressure to make a net zero by 2050 commitment and lift Australia's 2030 emissions reduction target before the start of the Glasgow summit on October 31.

Mr Morrison has been inching toward a net zero commitment since the start of the year, but has faced serious pushback from senior Nationals.

The Coalition partners are now locked in talks on a long-term emissions reduction plan, which could include a net zero by 2050 target.

Nationals members will meet on Sunday to consider their position on the roadmap, having spent much of the past fortnight publicly lobbying for concessions for regional Australia in exchange for signing up to a net zero target.

The Liberals have also brought forward their scheduled party room meeting to Monday to allow further debate on the plan. The Liberals and Nationals will meet together on Tuesday.

The Liberals' leading conservative in the Federal Parliament, Defence Minister Peter Dutton, on Friday threw his personal support behind a net zero by 2050 target as he expressed confidence a plan could be agreed to in the "next few days".

But Mr Morrison has hinted that it could take longer than that, saying the plan would be finalised "over the next fortnight".

Mr Morrison reiterated on Friday that the question before the government was not if or when net zero would be achieved, but how.

"it is not just about hitting net zero, [though] that is an important environmental goal," he said.

"But what's important is the Australian economy goes for strength to strength. And the livelihoods and the lives that Australians know, particularly in rural and regional areas, are able to go forward with hope and with confidence.

"That is what my plan will be all about."

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This story Scott Morrison to attend Glasgow climate summit first appeared on The Canberra Times.