Emails reveal secret Australia-UK deal

Morrison’s Government demanded the removal of Paris Agreement targets from the UK free trade agreement with australia.

Emails leaked by Australia reveal how Australia pressured Britain to withdraw key climate commitments to get it to sign its trade agreement.

Leaked emails reveal how Australia pressured Britain to withdraw its binding commitments from the UK-Australian trade agreement on Paris climate change.

Sky News reports that the Morrison Government insisted that “a reference to Paris Agreement temperature goals” be removed from the text of the trade deal.

This is in sharp contrast to the UK-EU trade agreement where temperature commitments were explicitly laid out. If either side violates the Paris Agreement, a suspension of this deal is triggered.

Sky News states that the email shows Liz Truss (UK trade secretary) and Kwasi Kwarteng (UK business secretary), decided that the government could “drop both climate asks” in the deal.

“We have not yet seen the formal readout, but we understand that the conversation took place. DIT has also agreed to drop both climate questions (ie, on the precedence of Multilateral Environmental Agreements rather than FTA provisions, and a reference of Paris Agreement temperature goals). The email from Cabinet Office says “()”.

Joe Biden, the US president, has committed to reducing carbon emissions by between 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030. This new goal effectively doubles the US’s previous promise.

Given that the COP Climate Change summit is scheduled to be held in Glasgow at the beginning of October, the leakage of emails is embarrassing for the UK Government.

This email was sent three months ago, after Mr Morrison and Boris Johnson announced that they had reached an in principle agreement on a trade deal.

Australia’s demand to drop language about climate targets seems to have been made after a handshake.

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By Cary Grant

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