This is what Tony Abbott has said about Australia’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:
“We will meet our 5% emissions reduction target but … we are certainly in no way looking to make further binding commitments in the absence of very serious like-binding commitments in other countries and there’s no evidence of that.”
Well Tony, if you want other countries to do more to reduce emissions, now’s your chance.
Right now, 10,000 participants, representing 189 countries, are attending the UN’s annual summit on climate change. There’s not much time; the summit in Poland wraps up on Saturday.
This process is probably our best chance of reaching a global deal that would see major polluters agree to cut their emissions. Abbott has said repeatedly that Australia is waiting for more global action on climate change.
So what is Australia doing at this important summit? Well, we didn’t send a minister for a start (more than 130 other countries did). And this is what an adviser at the summit told Crikey’s reporter on the ground in Poland yesterday:
“There was continuous blockage of anything they wanted from Australia who were putting brackets around everything. The behaviour of Australia’s negotiators was poor, they were being extremely insensitive, wearing T-shirts … This is a serious issue. We are talking about life and death, people are dying from Typhoon Haiyan, we’ve got people on hunger strike here … the US and others have been negotiating at a technical level in good faith. It broke down last night because of the Australians.”
If the Abbott government has no real interest in the world addressing climate change, it should be called for what it is: climate scepticism and obstructionism.