Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday that his country would welcome President-elect Joe Biden restoring the United States to the Paris climate accord and returning as a member of the World Health Organization.
His statement came amid renewed pressure himself to boost efforts to cut Australia’s carbon emissions.
The United States formally withdrew from the Paris climate agreement last week, but Biden has promised to rejoin the Paris pact, and also commit to net zero emissions by 2050.
Although Australia state and territory governments have adopted the same 2050 target for net-zero emissions, Morrison’s federal government has yet to do so.
Australia is a major exporter of fossil fuels, particularly coal, and Mr Morrison said many countries have made qualified climate commitments.
Independent lawmaker Zali Steggall on Monday introduced a climate bill to federal parliament seeking a net-zero target, saying Australia would be “the pariah of the international community” if it didn’t strengthen its climate commitments.
Meanwhile, underlining Australia’s frustration with the outgoing President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies, Morrison said Australia would welcome the US back to the WHO, and potentially the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, signed by Australia and 10 other countries in 2018.