Australia won’t budge on its climate change stance in the wake of the G20 summit as it’s on track to make substantial reductions in anyone’s language, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.
Hours after the meeting of the world’s leaders wrapped up and resulted in the globe’s largest economies declaring their support for strong climate action, Mr Abbott defended the government’s record.
“We are doing a very great deal and I suppose given what we are doing we don’t intend at this time to do more,” he said at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sydney on Sunday night.
The government resisted pressure to make climate change a priority issue at the Brisbane summit.
But the United States and China unveiled a surprise deal to tackle carbon emissions and President Barack Obama rallied rich nations to do more.
Responding to a question from a German journalist about whether Australia’s climate change plan would change following the weekend’s outcome, Mr Abbott said what the government was doing was very substantial.
“And our commitment on emissions reduction, five per cent on 2000 figures by 2020 is one way of putting it,” he said.
“But against business as usual it’s actually a 19 per cent reduction, which is a substantial reduction in anyone’s language.
“Unlike some countries which have made commitments and not met them we will meet this commitment.”
Mr Abbott reiterated his stance on coal and said it was going to be an important energy source for decades to come.
At the bilateral meeting, Mr Abbott and Ms Merkel established a joint working group to develop the Australian-German relationship.
Both leaders said it could be improved while Ms Merkel acknowledged both nations shared the same values on Russia and Islamic State.