US President Joe Biden is eyeing a carbon border tariff to pressure countries with high emissions like Australia into taking climate action, echoing a similar European Union plan. As Biden unveiled a plan to cut US emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2030 at last week’s climate summit, his administration also warned carbon border adjustments would be considered to ensure American industry did not face “an unfair competitive disadvantage”. The European Union is already on the path to legislating its plan to do similar, with a detailed proposal due by mid-year for introduction in 2023. Trade Minister Dan Tehan told the Australian Financial Review on Sunday that he had expressed concerns to the US and Europe about the “protectionist measures”. He pushed instead for “the complete liberalisation of environmental goods and services” to free up access to emissions reduction technologies. Analysis by the Victoria University Centre of Policy Studies found the EU plan would see Australian coal production fall by 3.8 per cent and the price of steel exports to the EU rise by 10 per cent. A new report from The Australia Institute meanwhile finds fossil fuel subsidies have cost state, territory and federal budgets roughly $10.3 billion over the past financial year.
West Australian Premier Mark McGowan is lobbying other state leaders for even tougher international border restrictions, as Perth and Peel enter the third day of a Covid-19 lockdown linked to a hotel quarantine outbreak that originated with a returned traveller from India. There have been two cases of community spread connected with the outbreak so far. “I’ve been in communication with one or two premiers, I’m pretty sure everyone will be pretty keen to reduce the number of people leaving Australia during Covid to go to a wedding or an athletics meet or even to a funeral,” he said. McGowan and the federal government have traded blows over the weekend border restrictions and quarantine, with the WA Premier also pushing for people to be quarantined in federal immigration facilities such as on Christmas Island rather than in hotels. Perth and Peel residents will today find out if the lockdown, which was due to end today, will be extended.
India on Sunday set a global daily record of new Covid-19 infections for the fourth straight day, registering 349,691 new cases and 2767 deaths. Both numbers are believed to be significant underestimates as suspected cases are not included and many deaths are being attributed to underlying conditions. The country’s crematoriums have been overwhelmed with an unprecedented rush of bodies, forcing facilities to skip individual ceremonies and exhaustive rituals that Hindus believe release the soul from the cycle of rebirth. “The virus is swallowing our city’s people like a monster,” said Mamtesh Sharma, an official at Bhopal’s Vishram Ghat crematorium. The extraordinary rise in cases has been attributed to a number of crowded political campaign events and religious festivals in March combined with a highly virulent new strain of the virus.
A missing Indonesian submarine has been found cracked apart on the seabed in waters off Bali, with Indonesia’s military chief Hadi Tjahjanto confirming the crew perished in the disaster. "With deep sadness, I can say that all 53 personnel onboard have passed," he told reporters. Rescuers had used an underwater submarine rescue vehicle supplied by Singapore to get a visual confirmation of the vessel. Search vessels, reconnaissance aircraft and submarine rescue ships had been deployed to scour a zone of about 34 square kilometres. Authorities have not given an official explanation for the accident, but said that the submarine may have suffered a blackout and left its crew unable to resurface. They discounted an explosion, however, saying that the evidence suggested the submarine came apart as it was crushed by water pressure at depths of more than 800 metres.