COP26: We need to separate optics from substance – Downer

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has signalled he may not attend the COP26 climate conference in November, in an interview with the West Australian newspaper.

Mr Morrison said he had “not made any final decisions” on attending, but he had spent a lot of time in quarantine due to overseas trips and may have to focus on other priorities including the reopening of the country’s borders.

Australia’s former foreign minister, Alexander Downer, told BBC World News that from the prime minister’s point of view it was a 40,000km (24,900 mile) round-trip and his attendance would be “symbolic” as he could announce what Australia’s commitments were going to be whether they were at COP26 or not.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Monday that if Mr Morrison did not attend there would still be senior level representation at COP26.

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