Australia Strives to Keep Climate Change Out of G20 Economic Summit

Australia Strives to Keep Climate Change Out of G20 Economic Summit

The government of Australia, which has been at the forefront of resisting international pressure of developed countries to manage their economies around the threat of climate change, is expected to resist more spending proposed at the summit for a “Green Climate Fund,” which would give money to underdeveloped countries with the intention of helping them reduce emissions.

The Guardian reports that Australia is continuing to resist pressure from the international community, particularly those within the G20, as the group prepares to meet in Brisbane. Australia opposes contributions to further grow the Green Climate Fund, which the UK paper explains “aims to help poorer countries cut their emissions and prepare for the impact of climate change.” 

The fund is being proposed as a way for large nations, who potentially have more pollution to emit given their larger industries, to indicate to developing nations that they, too, will make sacrifices, should other UN nations also participate in global efforts to reduce climate change.

Australia initially opposed any discussion of climate change at the G20 summit, noting that it was intended to be a conference to discuss economic issues. Earlier this week, Australian officials agreed to allow one paragraph on climate change in the summit communique. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has not discussed climate change with regard to the G20 summit so much has he has a potential confrontation with Vladimir Putin over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a subject on which Abbott promised to, in rugby terms, “shirt-front” the Russian leader.

The government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott has taken perhaps the most prominent stance in the developing world against leveraging climate change for political and economic manipulation. In July, the Abbott government led the repeal of Australia’s burdensome carbon tax, which many industrial leaders condemned as damaging to the free market. Abbott’s advocacy against climate change politics began much earlier, however. In 2013, Abbott addressed a UN group convened to discuss climate change and explicitly demanded an end to “socialism masquerading as environmentalism.” At the time, Abbott vowed not to sign any UN document requiring “spending money or levying taxes.”

Abbott has also repeatedly irked environmentalists by insisting that climate change is not the biggest threat facing civilization today. “Is it [climate change] the most important issue the world faces right now? I don’t believe so,” he told reporters before meeting President Obama in June, instead hoping to discuss economic issues. He echoed these sentiments in Ottawa, where Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed that economic issues were a more significant battle to fight for the conservative leaders.


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