Scott Morrison arrived at the G7 meeting of the world’s so-called most advanced economies amid protests over climate change and a call from Prince Charles to “do it for the planet.”
Official talks on economic recovery, global resilience and foreign policy began on Friday between the leaders of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
Australia is one of the four countries invited to the G7 and Morrison will only have observer status at the summit to be held in Cornwall, in the southwest of England.
As the leader of one of the four invited nations, Morrison will join other world leaders alongside South Africa, South Korea and India to official talks on climate and nature, health and societies open on Saturdays and Sundays.
In a speech at an official reception for G7 leaders, Prince Charles said that the Covid-19 pandemic “shows what a true crisis without borders looks like.”
“However, climate change and biodiversity loss represent a borderless crisis whose solutions have been debated and postponed for too long.”
The future king of the United Kingdom said that the global response to the pandemic and the way in which countries were working together was an example of the scale and speed at which the global community could come together to tackle a crisis when the will was harnessed. politics.
“We are doing it for the pandemic … we must also do it for the planet,” he said.
When the leaders arrived, so did nearly 100 climate change activists who had been walking for six days to get to Carbis Day.
Morrison is facing pressure on Australia’s track record on climate change, with targets seen as unambitious and as a major producer and exporter of fossil fuels.
The G7 environment ministers have agreed to meet climate targets in line with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 ° C.
“This is a very important place for Australia today as we land here in the UK to join the G7-plus dialogue,” Morrison said.
His plane was scheduled to land at Cornwall’s Newquay Airport, but was canceled due to heavy fog, requiring a journey of several hours to reach the summit site.
“This is the third time that we have had the privilege of being invited to be part of these discussions and there is a lot on this agenda for Australia,” he said.
Morrison was previously invited to the 2019 G7-plus summit in Biarritz, France, while the 2020 event was to be in the US but was canceled due to the pandemic.
Australia would commit 20 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to an effort led by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to vaccinate the world, it said.
“These 20 million doses will go towards supporting doses in our region, to ensure that we continue to exercise our responsibility as part of a broader global responsibility to combat this virus.”
“There has never been a more important time for Australia to sit around such a table,” Morrison said.
“Addressing the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the recession it has caused and the recovery we are building, particularly in Australia, with our economy larger today than before the pandemic.”
He said the summit would help ensure “the rules-based order that protects our trade but also protects our seas and protects how countries can positively live and work together around the world.”
Australia is also on the verge of sealing a free trade deal with the United Kingdom, and officials expect progress when Morrison meets with Johnson after the G7 concludes on Sunday.
Farmers’ access to Britain has been a key sticking point in the negotiations as UK farm groups worry that Australian beef and lamb will flood the market.
Australia has rejected the claim, and the National Farmers Federation estimates that 0.15 percent of all beef exports go to the UK.
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham, who started negotiations when he had the trade portfolio, noted the deal was close and said Australia viewed access to the agricultural market as crucial to any trade deal.
“What we are looking for there is to have as open a market as possible for Australian products to enter duty free and quota free,” Senator Birmingham told Sky News on Friday.
Morrison is expected to meet with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and South Korean Moon Jae-in.
While Morrison is not expected to make any new climate commitments, Australia faces calls for support for carbon tariffs on emissions-intensive imports.
However, the prime minister believes that any form of carbon tariff is against Australia’s national interests.
Morrison wants to focus on preparing for future pandemics, business-led growth, free and fair trade, and rules-based international order.
Before the conference, the prime minister had a face-to-face meeting with his Singaporean counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong.
Singapore is expected to be the second country after New Zealand to establish a quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia, but a new deal is still months away.
Lee indicated that the travel bubble would not be approved until the majority of the populations of both countries had been vaccinated.
Australia lags behind Singapore in the vaccination process, having fully immunized less than 3% of the adult population.
Just under half of Singaporeans 4.7 million have been fully vaccinated.