At the last G7 Summit leaders from Japan, Canada, the US, Germany, France, Britain and Italy pledged to phase out the use of fossil fuels by the end of the century.

By Jane Goldsmith

Friday, June 19 2015

THE Australian Labor Party has warned the Abbott Government’s climate change policies could alienate Australia from some of the world’s most powerful industrial nations, following the G7 summit pledge to phase out the use of fossil fuels by the end of the century.

At the 41st summit meeting at Schloss Elmau in Southern Germany, leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US addressed the “urgent and concrete action needed to address climate change”, primarily through cutting coal-powered station usage.

“We emphasise that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required with a decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century,” the G7 Leaders’ Declaration stated.

“The agreement should enhance transparency and accountability including through binding rules at its core to track progress towards achieving targets, which should promote increased ambition over time.

“This should enable all countries to follow a low-carbon and resilient development pathway in line with the global goal to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius.”

Shadow minister for Climate Change Mark Butler told media that Australia was out of step with other countries because Mr Abbott had based policies on allowing global temperatures to increase by up to 4 degrees Celsius.

“As expected, Tony Abbott’s weak stance on climate change is being criticised by our major trading partners who have committed to take strong action,” Mr Butler said.

“Tony Abbott is dishing out billions in tax payers’ money to big polluters, has ruined Australia’s renewable energy industry and removed Australia’s legal cap on carbon pollution.”

Coal is a key commodity in Australia, with brown and black coal production together bringing about $42 billion into the Federal economy in the 2015 financial year.

“As the biggest polluter per capita in the [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development], Australia has a responsibility to do its fair share to reduce its carbon pollution,” Mr Butler said.

“It is also in our national interest to work with our biggest trading partners – China, the US and Europe – for a global response to climate change.”