A group of senior British Conservatives say Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s attitude towards climate change goes against the fundamental principles of Conservatism.
A series of interviews conducted by The Age on the topic of climate change policy in the UK has led to Conservative politicians labelling Abbott’s skeptical position on climate change as “eccentric”, “baffling” and “flat Earther”, the SMH reported.
The group, which includes British PM David Cameron’s Minister for Energy, a former Thatcher minister and chairman of the Conservative Party, warned Australia’s heavy reliance upon the coal industry was risky business, increasing market and political pressure for it to join the global fight against climate change.
In the past Abbott has insisted he wants to be viewed as a “reforming conservative” in the mould of his British political idol Margaret Thatcher.
Lord Deben, chairman of the independent Climate Change Commission and a minister who served in both Margaret Thatcher and Sir John Major’s governments, says Abbott has betrayed the underlying ideals of Conservatism and those of his political heroine, Thatcher.
“I have no doubt that people like David Cameron will be saying to Tony Abbott ‘Look, conservatives are supposed to conserve, they are supposed to hand on to the next generation something better than they received themselves’,” Lord Deben said.
Tim Yeo, chairman of the UK parliamentary select committee on energy and climate change and a former environment minister under the Major government, said he was “very perplexed” by Australia’s political stance on climate change.
“If I was Australian, I’d be concerned if my country’s economic future and prosperity became dependent on continued coal export,” Yeo said.
Britain’s renewable energy production is responsible for producing almost 20% of the country’s electricity, while the UK’s energy market reforms and efforts to switch to a low carbon economy model have been backed by all the major political parties.
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