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Australia May be Left Out in G20 Summit as Other Countries Side with Obama on Climate Change

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By Reissa Su | June 30, 2014 3:51 PM EST

Prime Minister Tony Abbott may risk being isolated from other G20 economies should the climate change agenda push through. According to media reports, Mr Abbott's popularity and approval ratings have plummeted due to a "tough" budget and the government's climate change policy.

REUTERS
A woman walks by a signboard showing flags of the participating countries for the upcoming G20 Seoul Summit at the venue of the summit in Seoul November 4, 2010.

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As July approaches, senators are expected to take their seats in Parliament. Mr Abbott prepares to win the Senate to his side to achieve his goal of repealing Australia's carbon tax.

On a recent tour at a freezer manufacturing company that pays AU$60,000 a month on carbon tax, Mr Abbott said it was about time Australian households to be free from "this toxic tax". Mr Abbott and his Coalition party blame the carbon tax for the increase in electricity prices and "endangering" the country's AU$60 billion coal industry.

The Senate, controlled mostly by Labour and Greens parties, has previously blocked the bill to repeal carbon tax. However, recent talks with Palmer United Party (PUP) leader Clive Palmer had proven successful for Mr Abbott.  Palmer's party controls the balance of power in the Senate. The mining magnate has agreed to back Mr Abbott's carbon tax repeal in exchange for an emissions trading scheme. A fresh vote on the carbon tax repeal may happen as early as July 7, according to reports.

Many were surprised when Al Gore has announced he is backing climate change sceptic and Australian PUP leader Cliver Palmer in a press conference in Canberra last week. Reports described the endorsement as "gobsmacking" as Gore has involved himself in Australian politics.

Palmer is a mining tycoon who has repeatedly criticised climate change science while Gore is a Nobel prize awardee known for his campaign to fight global warming.However, Palmer will still be against Mr Abbott's plan to abolish renewable energy targets.

More Australians consider global warming as a serious issue as the Abbott government chooses to not consider climate change a priority. In the latest Lowy Institute poll, the number of Australians who think global warming is a "serious and pressing" concern has increased on its second consecutive year.

In the G20 leaders meeting slated in November in Brisbane, U.S. Pres. Barack Obama wants to push the climate change agenda to the top since Mr Obama believes that global warming is one of the most important issues facing the world today.

Mr Abbott has previously said Australia will be tackling other issues in the G20 meeting particularly those affecting the economy and jobs. 

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(Photo: REUTERS / Truth Leem)
A woman walks by a signboard showing flags of the participating countries for the upcoming G20 Seoul Summit at the venue of the summit in Seoul November 4, 2010.
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