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So, Australia has again put short term fossil fuel profits ahead of pretty much everything else at COP26.

It doesn't help that the Prime Minister's chief advisor, Aaron Finkelstein (previously head of fossil fuel spin doctors Crosby Textor) was in Glasgow. Nor that our climate change-questioning High Commissioner to the UK, George Brandis, was there as well. 

But there was one Australian group that really stood out, the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network.

This week we're fired up about:
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Belinda Noble
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One of the biggest Australian delegations at COP26 was from the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network (AIGN). 
  • Susan Smith, CEO
  • McCarthy Cassandra Anne, Glencore
  • Michael James Lawrence, Woodside
  • Peter Metcalfe, Woodside
  • Marion Niederkofler, Australian Forest Products Association
  • Peter Toth, Rio Tinto
AIGN describes itself as network that sees value in 'joint action on climate change to promote sustainable industry development'. The key word here is 'development'. One of it's main purposes is to contribute to the 'international climate change debate including through the provision of advice to the Australian delegation'. 

The Chair of AIGN is none other than Damian Dwyer, Deputy Chief Executive of gas lobbyist, APPEA. and former Assistant Director of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA).

Other board members include:
  • Paul Barrett, head of the Australian Petroleum Institute and an advisor to the Prime Minister's Office during the highly contentious Timor Sea Treaty negotiations
  • Mark Bonner, a carbon capture and storage expert that has advised the MCA
  • Charmaine (Tzila) Katzel, BP
  • Graham Winkelman, BHP
  • John Torkington, Chevron
And the AIGN's member list is a who's who of Australia's largest greenhouse gas polluters.

Decarbonising polluting industries is important and difficult work, and the group promotes consistent, national and transparent climate policy. All good.

However, it also wants 'market mechanisms' while simultaneously asking for public subsidies for 'low emissions technologies' (ie: expensive and unproven carbon capture and storage). It opposes any costs or legislative restraints on high-emitting industries. It has no stated emissions targets of its own and no policies to increase the ambition of its members. Sounds pretty close to government policy, so we can only presume the group is doing its job very effectively.

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison had three media helpers at COP and an official photographer. Poor 'Emissions Reduction' Minister, Angus Taylor, only got one.

Last Friday the federal government did what is known as 'putting the trash out' - releasing a contentious policy on Friday afternoon and hoping nobody would notice.

That policy was it's long awaited modelling behind its net zero by 2050 plan.

The modelling itself has been widely criticised but what stood out to me was that the company behind it, top consulting firm McKinsey & Company, got called out too.

This is a positive development, because for too long consulting firms have secretly profited from helping polluters while also painting themselves as being sustainability heroes.

It turns out that more than 1,100 McKinsey employees recently signed an open letter asking their employer to divulge the carbon footprint of clients. The firm reportedly consults for at least 43 of the 100 top environmentally damaging companies including the biggest of them all, Saudi Aramco.

The New York Times also writes that several staff have quit because of McKinsey's fossil fuel clients.

In Australia, McKinsey is also a member of APPEA. 

Let's hope the criticism motivates McKinsey to move to the right side of history.

1. Gastivists for projecting anti-gas messages on the famous armadillo building hosting COP26. Hilariously, the official projectionists responded by putting up a message saying 'go away', making it an even better media story.

2. Fortescue Future Industries for taking the argument for green hydrogen straight to fossil fuel bosses in the AFR.

3. Clean Creatives and 100 influencers for taking on Edelman and its fossil fuel clients.

4. WWF and Yannis Konstantinidis for the stunning 'We Can't Negotiate with Ice' video.
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