‘Conditional commitments’: the diplomatic strategy that could make Australia do its fair share on climate change

Mon, 7 Jun 2021 05:18:49 +1000

Andrew Pam <xanni [at] glasswings.com.au>

Andrew Pam

"The International Energy Agency’s recent, landmark report put another glaring
spotlight on Australia’s failure to act on climate change. On the same night
the report was released, warning against any new fossil fuel projects, the
federal government announced A$600 million for a new gas-fired power plant.

This announcement is disappointing, but not surprising.

It’s just the latest embarrassing incident from the Morrison government when it
comes to climate change, as it fails to set any meaningful new targets,
international climate summit after climate summit.

If we take a philosophical perspective on the issue, I believe there’s a
cautious and strategic way for Australia to do its fair share, one that hasn’t
been widely considered: adopting “conditional committents”.

Conditional commitments are promises to raise (or lower) emissions reduction
efforts, depending on what others do. For example, imagine if Australia were to
publicly affirm our Asian neighbours’ climate ambitions, and seize the
opportunity to make these ambitions more concrete via a conditional offer: that
we would introduce a carbon tax if China or Japan were to do so first."

       *** Xanni ***
mailto:xanni@xanadu.net               Andrew Pam
http://xanadu.com.au/                 Chief Scientist, Xanadu
https://glasswings.com.au/            Partner, Glass Wings
https://sericyb.com.au/               Manager, Serious Cybernetics

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