Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has mocked an international leader for his tearful breakdown during the final day of the Glasgow climate summit.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has mocked COP26 president Alok Sharma for his tearful breakdown during the final day of the international climate summit, accusing him of faking concern for the environment.
Mr Sharma cried during proceedings in Glasgow on Sunday, as he announced that the global climate agreement would be watered-down after India protested against the deal’s original wording around the phasing out of fossil fuels.
“May I just say to all delegates, I apologise for the way this process has unfolded and I am deeply sorry,” Mr Sharma said as his voice broke.
“I also understand the deep disappointment but, I think as you have noted, it’s also vital that we protect this package.”
Delegates applauded Mr Sharma as he regained his composure and managed to continue his speech.
But Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister had no sympathy for the COP26 president when he was asked about the incident by the ABC on Monday.
Mr Joyce said Mr Sharma’s tears “annoyed” him and accused the British leader of being a phony.
“It annoys me that, what is that guy’s name? Chairman Sharma with his gavel – ‘I am crying, I can’t do it’ – he wants to talk about shutting down the coal industry but he never talks about shutting down the oilfields the North Sea,” Mr Joyce said.
“These people aren’t worried about the environment, they just want to end up on television.
“All the corporate billionaires and all the movie stars and chairman Sharma and all the tears as they shut down our industries. But they don’t want to touch their own.”
ABC host Patricia Karvelas defended the emotional COP26 leader, telling Mr Joyce that Mr Sharma was clearly upset over the watering-down of the climate agreement.
“That’s not very respectful. He is obviously emotional because he feels like it wasn’t a good achievement,” Ms Karvelas said.
But the Deputy PM would not have a bar of it.
“That’s a load of rubbish,” Mr Joyce replied.
“Look at every airport chockablock full of corporate jets. Give me a break! These people aren’t worried about the environment.”
Mr Sharma’s speech followed the testimonies of smaller, climate-vulnerable nations at the Glasgow summit, who expressed their hurt and anger over the changes to the text.
The change proposed by India replaced the phrase “phase out” with “phase down” for fossil fuel commitments.
Despite the last-minute change and its ensuing backlash, the climate agreement was sealed by Mr Sharma as he banged down his gavel, signalling there were no final objections from the 197 nations in attendance.
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