Prime Minister Tony Abbott says climate change will not be a focus of this weekend’s G20 Summit because it is something that “might happen in 16 years’ time”.
Despite China and America signing a carbon emissions reduction deal on Thursday, calling on other major economies to do the same, Mr Abbott insisted the G20’s focus would be on jobs and not climate.
“I believe the principal focus of the conference will be on growth and jobs,” Mr Abbott said in Burma on Thursday.
“I certainly expect that the focus will be on economic reform, economic growth, how we drive growth and jobs. That is my constant preoccupation.”
“That’s what I want and if other countries want to raise other subjects they’re entirely welcome to do so but my focus and I believe the principal focus of the conference will be on growth and jobs.”
Australia still lags behind the rest of the world in climate change policy, promising a 5 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2020.
The US this week announced a 26-28 per cent reduction by 2025, while the UK has promised to cut emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050.
Mr Abbott said the issue of climate change would be addressed at a conference in Paris next year, but Opposition Leader Bill Shorten accused him of avoiding the issue.
He said the government had “egg on their face because the rest of the world is dealing with an issue that Tony Abbott doesn’t want to talk about.”
“Just imagine, in the lead-up to next year’s Paris conference we could be talking about the ‘Brisbane Declaration’ as the turning point in global climate negotiations,” Mr Shorten said.