Prime Minister Scott Morrison's rejection of a more ambitious CO2 reduction target for 2030 has been criticized by former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Irish President Mary Robinson.
“I'm sorry to say that I think Australia is an exception right now in its scale of ambition, and I'm saying that as I know cities and states in the Australian federal system are trying to step up efforts and civil society is trying to do much better , ”said Robinson.
Ban Ki Moon and former Irish President Mary Robinson urge Scott Morrison to move away from coal.
Ms Robinson and Mr Ban were speaking at an online forum of a group of former international leaders founded by Nelson Mandela called The Elders which was held overnight on Monday Australian time.
"The problem is at the federal level ," she said. "I am happy that Scott Morrison has changed his mind and is coming to COP 26 at the end of the month in Glasgow."
And I hope his peers will tell him: 'You have to do more, you are a rich country. You have to end this dependence on coal, have a just transition from coal, and understand that the world is looking to Australia because you are on the side of the historical emitters. "
I am with many Australians in wanting the government to step up its efforts.
Mr Ban said he has worked closely with the Australian government and is aware of the importance of coal in terms of exports, as well as efforts to develop hydrogen technology.
“Therefore, a target of 26-28% CDN  for Australia, which is one of the very important and powerful countries of the G20, does not set an example. I think they should really lead by example. It is my strong desire as a friend of Australia, ” he said.
Mr Morrison told Parliament on Monday that he would stick to the target he set in the 2019 election, which was set by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2015, of reducing emissions from at least 26% from 2005 levels.
His move comes after Nationals chief Barnaby Joyce on Sunday almost ruled out any support for a higher commitment to 2030.
However, Mr Morrison told Liberal MPs he intended to make a binding commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 at the Glasgow climate summit.
UK UN climate minister Alok Sharma told the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age earlier this month that Australia should pursue a 45-50% target to do its part, while the United States, which had a target similar to Australia, doubled its target to 50%.
Recently, South Korea increased its target for 2030 from 26% to 40%.
Scientists estimate that if the world is to avoid the worst impacts of warming, it must reduce emissions by 45% this decade, but alas, if current national commitments are met, they will increase by 16%.