Tony Abbott Accused of Leading Australia to an 'Environmental Train Wreck'

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By Reissa Su | April 9, 2014 5:15 PM EST

Australian scientists have accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott of engineering an "environmental train wreck" less than one year in office. They said the changes Mr Abbott is implementing may cause "irreversible" damage to some of the most vulnerable ecosystems.

REUTERS
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott addresses during the Commonwealth Government Meeting (CHOGM) opening ceremony in Colombo November 15, 2013.

Professor Bill Laurance, based in James Cook University of Queensland and recipient of the Australian Laureate Fellowship, is appalled by the scope and pace of Australia's environmental rollbacks. Mr Abbott's vow to abolish carbon tax in favour of the Direct Action plan is just one of the issues that continue to worry environmental scientists.

Worsening dry spells, fiercer heat waves and frequent bushfire seasons should be worrying for Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Coalition government after CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology released the State of the Climate report. The two-year study has prompted calls for curbing carbon emissions from human activities. Greenhouse emissions are already at record levels. Climate scientists predict that the world will be 5 degrees hotter by 2070.

However, the Abbott government has not accepted the Climate Change Authority (CCA)'s recommendation for Australia to triple its carbon emissions reduction target. The climate agency said Australia should be aiming for at least 15 per cent by 2020. The target rate will increase to 19 per cent once the carry-over credits that have been previously set in the Kyoto Protocol are included.

Carbon tax repeal

In March, the Coalition government has failed in its first attempt to repeal Australia's carbon tax. The Australian Labour Party and the Greens used their numbers to their advantage in the Senate to block the carbon tax repeal with 33 votes against 29.

The news of the block came following the Abbott government's immediate move to push a bill in the House of Representatives to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. The removal of the $10 billion agency is in line with the Coalition's plans to do away with the climate change policies of the previous government.

The government will need to wait three months before the carbon tax repeal can be brought to Parliament again. 

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(Photo: REUTERS / )
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott addresses during the Commonwealth Government Meeting (CHOGM) opening ceremony in Colombo November 15, 2013.
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