In what’s becoming a recurring theme for the Federal Government, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has changed his stance on climate change and pledged $200 million over four years to the Green Climate Fund.
The government will dip into Australia’s foreign aid budget to fund the contribution. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will announce the pledge at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Peru today.
The recent backtrack and overhaul of signature policies, including the junking of the $7 GP payment and significant changes to the Paid Parental Leave scheme, are evidence of submissive behaviour from the Government.
Abbott today said all countries should take practical steps when considering climate change, while safeguarding economic growth.
“Australia is already making major contributions to address the effects of climate change, including through national direct action and international engagement, including our aid programme,” he said.
The government’s Direct Action Plan was helped through the Senate by Clive Palmer in late October and features $2.55 billion in grants over four years, offered in reverse auctions to companies that volunteer to reduce emissions. The target is a 5% reduction in emissions by 2020.
The plan has been heavily criticised by Opposition leader Bill Shorten, who described it as a “terrible policy” which is “paying big polluters to keep polluting”.
Abbott said his Government would also establish a new taskforce to review Australia’s post-2020 international emissions reductions targets in the lead-up to the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference. However, no new targets will be announced until mid-2015.
Australia’s addition to the Green Climate Fund brings combined international contributions above the target of US$10 billion.
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