Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s failure on climate action is likely to doom the $15b European trade deal

‘Is this a red line for us?’ $15b European trade deal doomed if Australia dodges Paris pledge, SMH, By Nicole Hasham, 31 August 2018 The Coalition’s internal climate war risks damaging the economy after Europe declared it would reject a $15 billion trade deal with Australia unless the Morrison government keeps its pledge to cut pollution under the Paris accord.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week reset his government’s course on energy policy, declaring a focus on lowering electricity bills and increasing reliability, while relegating efforts to cut dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.

He has reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the Paris accord despite persistent calls by conservative Coalition MPs, led by Tony Abbott, to quit the agreement.

However there is deep uncertainty over how Australia will meet the Paris goal of reducing Australia’s carbon emissions by 26 per cent by 2030 given the government does not have a national strategy to meet the target.

The policy ructions did not go unnoticed at a meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade in Brussels, where the EU’s chief negotiator on the deal, Helena König, faced angry questions from the floor over Australia’s commitment to climate action.

Australia and the EU will in November enter a second round of negotiations over the deal that would end restrictions on Australian exports and collectively add $15 billion to both economies.

In a video of this week’s proceedings, Ms König told the committee that “it’s the [European] Commission’s position … that we are talking about respect and full implementation of the Paris agreement [as part of the trade deal]”.

“No doubt we will see what comes out in the text [of the deal agreement] but that I expect to be the minimum in the text, for sure.”

Her assertion is a clear signal that any failure by Australia to meet its international climate obligations would have serious economic consequences.

Ms König fired off the warning after a question by Klaus Buchner, a German Greens member of the Parliament who said “the intention of the new Australian regime to withdraw from the Paris Agreement unsettles not only Australians”. …….

The EU bloc is Australia’s second largest trading partner, third largest export destination and second largest services market. The EU was also Australia’s largest source of foreign investment in 2017.

…….The Paris climate accord is deeply unpopular with conservative MPs, including Nationals MPs whose electorates would benefit from an EU trade deal. Keith Pitt resigned as an assistant minister last week in protest at the Paris treaty. “I will always put reducing power prices before Paris,” he said.

A 2017 report by the United Nations environment program that found Australia’s emissions were set to far exceed its Paris pledge and government data released in January showed Australia’s annual emissions had risen for the fourth year running.

Labor’s climate change and energy spokesman Mark Butler said the government had no emissions reduction plan and would fail to meet its Paris goal.

“The Prime Minister might think he can get away with [failing to cut emissions] domestically, but it is clear it will not be accepted by our international trading partners, who rightly have an expectation the Australian government will act to deliver on our international obligations,” he said.

European Australian Business Council chief executive Jason Collins, whose organisation has lobbied for the trade deal, said Europe’s commitment to the Paris agreement was “fundamental”. ……

Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy said the European Union’s stance on the trade deal showed the Coalition’s climate policy division “has real-world consequences for our country”. https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/is-this-a-red-line-for-us-15b-european-trade-deal-doomed-if-australia-dodges-paris-pledge-20180831-p50109.html

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September 3, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming, politics international

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