The Abbott government is facing a barrage of criticism over its climate policy after the United Nations issued Australia with a “please explain” notice.
Some of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, including China and the US, have taken the opportunity to question the effectiveness of Australia’s direct action policy, emissions reduction targets and renewable energy use.
Brazil’s representatives openly referred to Australia’s ‘lack of ambition’ on carbon emissions in one of their questions, while China accused Australia of doing less to cut its emissions than what’s expected of other developed nations.
It also questioned whether the direct action policy will be enough to make up for the Coalition’s decision to axe the carbon price, in order for Australia to meet its commitment of cutting emissions by five per cent below 2000 levels by 2020.
The European Union, Switzerland, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia have also taken the opportunity to quiz the government on the effectiveness of its policies.
The concerns are included in a questions document fielded by UN Framework Convention on Climate Change organisers, with dozens of queries submitted for Australia to answer in the lead up to the Paris climate summit in December.
Australia is already facing questions in diplomatic circles for not sending a minister to the upcoming Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in Washington DC, starting on Sunday, Fairfax reports.
Climate Institute deputy chief executive Erwin Jackson told Fairfax the international community saw Australia’s commitments as “woefully inadequate” for it to do its fair share in meeting the agreed global target of keeping warming to within 2 degrees.
“This is the first salvo,” he said.
“If the government doesn’t come forward with a credible post-2020 target this kind of criticism will continue and only increase as other countries accelerate and deepen their own action.”
– with AAP