Al Gore-Clive Palmer Announcement a 'Step Forward' to Reset Australia's Climate Change Debate

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By Reissa Su | July 2, 2014 6:10 PM EST

The Al Gore-Clive Palmer alliance may have reignited the climate change debate. The Australia Institute defended its role bringing the Nobel prize winner and Australian MP together. According to reports, it said the Palmer United Party (PUP) "had avoided a big step backwards" through its concessions and reset the debate in Australia.

REUTERS/Stringer
The sun is seen behind smoke billowing from a chimney of a heating plant in Taiyuan, Shanxi province in this December 9, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Stringer

Ben Oqist, the strategic director and former Greens party staffer, said bringing Gore and Palmer together was a step forward. The PUP is expected to use its balance of power votes in the Senate when it resumes next week to prevent Prime Minister Tony Abbott from abolishing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Climate Change Authority and Australia's renewable energy target.

In a report by the Guardian, Oquist wrote in an email that Mr Abbott's plan to scrap the CEFC, renewable energy target and CCA was certain to succeed six months ago. He said the institute's research has shown that the renewable energy target has been the key driver in clean energy investments. He said it has more impact than the carbon price at no cost to the government.

Palmer will still be against Mr Abbott's plan to abolish renewable energy targets. Despite saying previously that he did not accept the idea that humans played a role in global warming, the Australian MP is now calling for a global solution since "air moves around the world". Palmer has expressed his support for a carbon emissions trading scheme with a starting price of zero dollars. He said the scheme will be effective if the country's main trading partners will adopt the same mechanism.

Palmer revealed Gore had given him the chance to reconsider the "important issues facing Australians". He acknowledged that climate change is indeed a global problem that needs a global solution.

Labour and Greens parties had previously challenged Mr Abbott to a double dissolution election after the Senate has voted down a bill to scrap the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for the second time. This was the second time the bill has been shot down in the Senate.

With Palmer expressing his support for Mr Abbott's carbon tax repeal, observers said next week's Senate meeting will be crucial.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Stringer / )
The sun is seen behind smoke billowing from a chimney of a heating plant in Taiyuan, Shanxi province in this December 9, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Stringer
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