Topics: IPCC report; Putin and Xi meeting; China’s influence to end war in Ukraine;

07:54AM AEDT
Tuesday, 21 March 2023


Peter Stefanovic:  Let’s send it over to the Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Birmingham now. Simon, good to see you. So what do you make of that report this morning? And has China got to do more, even though Xi Jinping is showing no interest in cutting his emissions?


Simon Birmingham: Well, good morning, Pete. Look, I look forward to reviewing the content of this important report over coming days and weeks. It was obviously only released overnight. It shows very clearly that the world and it does need to be a global effort. It needs to continue to work towards decarbonisation. Now, there are messages in that for Australia, but ultimately successfully tackling climate change requires global cooperation. That’s challenging and the type of world that we find ourselves living in. But this is an existential problem in many ways for countries, all countries. And that’s why trying to bring parties together and work together is going to be so critical. Australia as an advanced developed economy has a leading role to play and we should continue to play that role in terms of driving forward technological advances as setting clear examples for the rest of the world. But we also have to be realistic about the fact that we need other big emitting countries, and particularly those with strong growth profiles like China, like India. All of those types of nations need to be playing their role for the world to successfully tackle this issue too.


Peter Stefanovic: Okay. On China, Xi Jinping has met Vladimir Putin overnight. What do you make of any kind of peace talks? Are you buying any of it?


Simon Birmingham: We’re going to remember the landscape against which this meeting has occurred. It comes just days after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin over war crimes and atrocities being undertaken in Ukraine. So the reminder of the illegal and immoral invasion and war that Russia has been waging is very real and very present. The fact that against that backdrop, we have Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin having discussions about their friendship between nations without limitations is a reminder of the fact that autocracies in the way in which they engage with one another do pose very real threats. I hope that behind the scenes there was more direct advocacy for a cessation of the conflict and for finding a way to bring peace to the region, because that conflict is not just having and placing such a brutal toll on people in Ukraine. It, of course, is having worldwide implications in terms of its economic impact.


Peter Stefanovic: Just in 20 seconds, Simon, I’m out of time. But the fact that he’s not going to Ukraine, he’s going to give Zelensky a phone call instead, where he’s spending three days in Russia. Is he really legit about ending the war?


Simon Birmingham: Well, only time will tell. But out of these meetings, I don’t think people will have a lot of hope or expectation. But China can play a big role. It should play a big role. And that starts with putting effective pressure on Putin.


Peter Stefanovic: Simon Birmingham, appreciate your time. We’re a little squeezed today. An action packed half an hour, that’s for sure.