Australia’s Mathias Cormann elected OECD chief despite climate record

The surprise result is a diplomatic triumph for Australia, whose prime minister, Scott Morrison, had promoted Cormann’s OECD credentials in calls with international counterparts in recent months. Cormann narrowly defeated the Swedish former EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström in the election to lead the 37-member Paris-based organisation, which gives advice to member governments on economic trends, inequality, fighting corruption and trade and is seen as the world’s leading rulemaker on corporate tax.  Madeleine Cuff discusses the reaction in an article on the inews website. Also check related article on the Guardian website.


Climate groups outraged as Mathias Cormann named as new Secretary General of OECD

Environmental groups have expressed “deep dismay and anger” over the appointment of former Australia finance minister Mathias Cormann as the new Secretary General of the OECD.

Mr Cormann was elected on Friday as the new head of the group that advises advanced economies, according to reports.

Green groups had lobbied hard to discredit his candidacy. They warned his poor record on climate change policy made him unsuitable to lead the organisation, which is expected to play a key role in shaping nations’ net zero policies.

Mr Cormann is known as a supporter of small government and low taxes, and has clashed with Australian green groups over his attempts to abolish Australia’s renewable energy target.  He has described 2050 net zero targets as “extremist and irresponsible”.

Earlier this month international climate groups wrote to the OECD expressing “grave concerns” over Mr Cormann’s candidacy.

Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International, expressed “deep dismay and anger” at OECD member states for selecting Mr Cormann.

“We have little confidence in Mr Cormann’s ability to ensure the OECD is a leader in tackling the climate crisis when he himself has an atrocious record on the issue,” she said.

Tasneem Essop, executive director of the Climate Action Network, urged Mr Cormann to push for greater climate action in his new role.

“While he can never erase his disastrous record on climate action, he must now step up as a genuine climate champion committed to pushing for the strongest levels of climate ambition,” she said. “We will hold him accountable to this.”

Mr Cormann will take over from Mexico’s Angel Gurria in May. He has promised to work with nations to help achieve global net zero emissions by 2050.

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