The Paris climate agreement has caused no shortage of headaches for political leaders around the world.
While some nations are working to reduce carbon emissions, others like India and China could, by some estimates, almost double their current emissions over the next decade.
Nowhere has the debate been fiercer than in Australia.
Some on the far-left would like Australia to be a ‘world leader’ and cut emissions far more than the Paris agreement mandates. They don’t appear bothered by the devastating impact the resulting rocketing energy costs would have on Australia’s economy and workers. Or the fact that much of the developing world won’t follow Australia’s lead regardless.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been a vocal opponent of the agreement in recent years. But with the change in the Coalition’s leadership, Abbott has reversed course.
Reason for the backflip
The former PM claims that he only signed the country up to the 2015 Paris climate agreement as he thought the target to reduce emissions could be achieved ‘without substantial policy change and without significant additional costs on the economy’.
Once Turnbull overthrew Abbott as PM, he petitioned for Australia to follow in the footsteps of US President Donald Trump and abandon the agreement.
And now he’s done another backflip…
‘I certainly thought a few months ago that the only way to break the emissions obsession was to pull out of Paris,’ he told a Warringah candidates panel in Sydney on Friday.
‘I think that the government has lost its emissions obsession now that Angus Taylor is the energy minister so I don’t think it is now necessary … I’m not calling for us to pull out.’
Abbott was blunt when questioned about his change of mind:
‘We’ve got a new prime minister and a new energy minister.’
The last straw
The final nail in the coffin for campaigners to oust Turnbull as PM — which includes Abbott — in August last year was his national energy guarantee policy. This would’ve required electricity generators to reduce emission while achieving reliability standards, AAP reports.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced a $2 billion addition to Abbott’s emissions reduction fund — now known as the climate solutions fund — as well as Commonwealth funding for Turnbull’s hydro-electricity project, Snowy 2.0.
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