Critics say Australia’s environmental policy has regressed

G20 Summit

Changes to Australia’s green energy policies has led to new market challenges for renewable energy. CCTV America’s Roee Ruttenberg reported this story from Sydney.

GLOBAL COMMITMENTS TO REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS:
AUSTRALIA: 5% decline from 2000 levels by 2020
US: 26-28% decline from 2005 levels by 2025
EU: 40% decline from 1990 levels by 2030
CHINA: 40-45% decline from 2005 levels by 2020

Five years ago, Australia’s Labor prime minister called climate change “the greatest moral challenge of our generation.” But last year, conservative Tony Abbott won office, promising, among other things, to scrap a tax on carbon emissions. Critics have dubbed this ‘a backflip’ that they say reverses the government’s climate change policy.

“The large scale solar market has ground to a halt. It’s almost impossible to get a large-scale utility solar project up and running at the moment, because there’s so much policy uncertainty, and investors just don’t have the confidence that they are going to make the returns they need,” said Clare de Castella, a marketing manager at Yingli Australia, a Chinese solar panel manufacturer.

Indeed, domestically, over the last year, investments in renewable energy have dropped 70 percent, according to Australia’s independent Climate Council. The organization reported this week that Australia, once a crucial player in global climate action, has moved from a leader to a laggard, which may explain the topic’s noticeable absence from this weekend’s G20 Summit agenda.

G20 leaders from world’s twenty major economies are arriving in Brisbane, Australia for the summit from Nov. 15-16. The group will address tax avoidance, free trade, and the global economy, but unlike previous gatherings, one topics they will not be discussing, at least as a key agenda item, is climate change.

Critics say Australia's environmental policy has regressed

Leaders from world's twenty major economies have begun arriving in Brisbane for the G20 Summit. The issues they'll be addressing include tax avoidance, free trade and the global economy. But unlike previous gatherings, one of the topics they will not be discussing at least as a key agenda item is climate change. CCTV America's Roee Ruttenberg reported from Sydney.

“The reality is that Australia has been leap-frogged by many other G20 countries in counteracting climate change. We’ve fallen behind the pack, and in many respects are moving away from the pack so far as the overall trajectory of the global economy is concerned,” said Travers McLeod, the CEO of the Center for Policy Development in Australia.

Australia had already come under criticism that its carbon reduction targets are comparatively lower than other countries. The government said it is committed to fighting climate change. But that the G20 is neither the right forum, nor the most productive forum, for doing so.

The official position has failed to convince Australian climate change activists. They have been protesting at events around the country, and plan to demonstrate outside of the G20 in Brisbane.


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