Former PM Tony Abbott urges withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement

4 July 2018

Former PM Tony Abbott urges withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement

Tony Abbott is calling for Australia to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, despite signing up to the agreement in 2015 when he was Prime Minister.

In a speech to a group of climate sceptics on Tuesday night, Mr Abbott said that he would not have signed up to the Paris Agreement if he had known the US would withdraw from it.

He said Australia needs to pull out of the treaty to end “the emissions obsession that’s at the heart of our power crisis.”

In 2015 Mr Abbott announced that Australia was making a “definite commitment” to a 26% reduction in emissions, but now says that he didn’t anticipate “how the aspirational targets we agreed to at Paris would, in different hands, become binding commitments.”

“I didn’t anticipate how agreeing to emissions that were 26% lower in 2030 than in 2005 would subsequently become a linear progression of roughly equal cuts every year over the next decade,” he said.

“As long as we remain in the Paris agreement — which is about reducing emissions, not building prosperity — all policy touching on emissions will be about their reduction, not our well-being.”

“It’s the emissions obsession that’s at the heart of our power crisis and it’s this that has to end for our problems to ease.”

The former Prime Minister has been campaigning against the National Energy Guarantee (NEG), a Turnbull Government policy to manage energy affordability and reliability, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr Abbott believes the NEG focuses too much on reducing emissions, and that the primary focus of the Government’s energy policy should be reducing prices.