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It was an avoidable mistake for Anthony Albanese not to attend Cop27

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It lasted only three hours, but Joe Biden’s visit to Egypt on Friday afternoon underlined that it was a mistake for Anthony Albanese not to attend the annual UN climate conference known as Cop27.

Not a disastrous mistake, but an avoidable one, and a lost opportunity. The prime minister has turned down a chance to argue in front of more than 110 other leaders that his still-new government is serious about pushing for greater action – that, in the words of the climate change minister, Chris Bowen, “we’re back” after years as a global laggard. Momentum matters on climate, and Albanese won’t get another chance to make an urgent first impression.

The conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, a narrow tourist strip between the Red Sea and the Sinai peninsula desert, has quite a different hue to the politically heavy Cop26 meeting in Glasgow last year. Then, national leaders were expected to turn up with strengthened commitments for 2030 that reflected the scale of the problem. Many did pledge to do more, but not enough. Others, notably Scott Morrison, agreed to go only after sustained…

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