Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the global climate deal is a historic moment and extraordinary achievement, but warns Australia will have to work even harder to slash emissions after a deal was forged in Paris.
The world agreed to the first universal climate deal on Sunday (AEST) which required countries to limit global warming to well below two degrees, with an aspirational goal of 1.5.
But, a Liberal MP said the Federal Government should not revise its greenhouse reduction targets following the signing of the historic deal.
WA Liberal MP Dennis Jensen told ABC Radio on Monday morning that the agreement was “essentially meaningless” and warned there was no reason to be “metaphorically burning our economy just to appear good on the global stage”.
“The entire globe needs to have similar commitments and be similarly achieving those goals,” he added.
“[There is] no reason why we should be metaphorically burning our economy just to appear good on the global stage.”
Meanwhile, NSW MP Craig Kelly posted on Facebook: “Hallelujah. The world is saved … the polar bears can sleep soundly tonight.
“The actual promises made here will do almost nothing to achieve [a rise limited to 2 degrees celsius],” he wrote, quoting from an opinion piece by Danish academic Bjorn Lomborg.
Five-yearly reviews were a sticking point for the Australian delegation and Ms Bishop admitted it was going to be tough, while cautioning the government wouldn’t jeopardise the economy.
“Of course if we’re being ambitious over time we will need to work even harder (than the current targets),” she told reporters in Paris after the deal was signed.
“But we don’t want to damage our economy without having an environmental impact.
“ No one wanted countries to destroy their economy … that would be self-defeating. ”
But environment groups believe Australia must do much more than its 26 to 28 per cent reduction target by 2030 to meet even the two degree goal.
The government maintained the aim is one of the highest in the G20 in terms of per capita emissions.
The Opposition called on Malcolm Turnbull to scrap the government’s direct action policy, in order to allow Australia to have a chance at meeting new targets.
It said the agreement marked a turning point in tackling pollution and showed a level of ambition not previously seen.
“The objectives of the agreement are crystal clear and Australia now needs to match policies to these objectives,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Environment spokesman Mark Butler said in a joint statement on Sunday.
“Now is the time for Malcolm Turnbull to step up and dump his party’s continuing support for Tony Abbott’s direct action fraud.”
‘Historic step forward’
Ms Bishop admitted not everything Australia wanted made it into the agreement but wouldn’t detail the compromises she made.
“While we didn’t get all that we envisaged, we are certainly pleased with this agreement,” she said.
“There’s no point in going into the details as to what wasn’t achieved.”
China agreed the deal was not perfect and more work had to be done, but said that did not prevent the country from marching historic steps forward.
“It is a reflection of balance of the world’s interest,” China’s chief negotiator Xie Zhenhua said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry called the deal a tremendous victory for citizens across the globe.
“The world has come together around an agreement that will empower us to charter a new path for our planet,” he said.
– with AAP/ABC