Ministers bowed to pressure to drop key climate commitments for UK trade deal with Australia

Press quote (Sky News)
08 September 2021

Sam Lowe, trade expert at the Centre for European Reform, told Sky News he was surprised ministers appeared ready to drop commitments to the Paris Agreement to get the deal over the line.

"Australia doesn't want the trade deal to be made conditional to their membership of Paris Agreement, so essentially it doesn't want to be held to account in the event it doesn't do what it says it does in relation to the agreement," he said.

"It has made commitments to reduce its carbon emissions over a number years, but there is a suspicion it doesn't have much intention to do so, as the economy is quite reliant on coal, and its politicians are sceptical of climate change. So it doesn't want to have a binding international obligation that will require it to go through with this."

Mr Lowe said that Mr Johnson could still make this a priority in this trade agreement by refusing to sign the deal without it.

"However this means negotiations would take longer and the UK might need to give up more in return," he said.