Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said that Australia should withdraw itself from the Paris Climate Agreement that he agreed to while serving his term in office three years ago.
Back in 2015, then Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced a “responsible” as well as “achievable” emissions reduction pledge that he said had hit “the right balance” between both economic and environmental concerns.
However, last night Mr Abbott said that leaving the Paris agreement would be the best decision that the country could make at the moment.
In an appearance on Sky News, the ex-prime minister lashed out at the agreement, citing the withdrawal of the United States from the agreement and the “economic damage” of renewable energy. He said that if Australia had known about the damage that would be done “to our power system” as well as “to our industries” that his government would never have ratified the agreement.
He went on to say that now that Australia was aware of the damage that we should leave the agreement as quickly as possible.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop rebuked Mr Abbott’s comments, saying that Australia would stay in the Paris agreement because we are a country that “plays by the rules”. She said that if Australia signed an agreement that, “we stick to the agreement”.
She went on to say that Australia sought to be recognised as a “reliable and trusted” nation and that she believed we could “achieve the target that we set”. She said that the targets were deliberately set so that they were realistically achievable so that Australia could honour its agreement.
Ms Bishop went on to say that Australia had made strong commitments in the Paris agreement that could not be simply or easily dismissed.
However, Mr Abbott refused to entertain that notion altogether.
He said that “false claims” were being made by his former colleagues and that the Paris agreement was not a “binding commitment” but only an “aspirational target”.
This news comes as a split develops in the Coalition ranks regarding the National Energy Guarantee (NEG). The comments from Mr Abbott are a suggestion that he may cross the Parliament floor to vote down the legislation.