Tony Abbott Faces Mounting Pressure to Elevate Climate Change in G20 Agenda

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By Reissa Su | August 19, 2014 12:39 PM EST

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is facing mounting pressure to elevate climate change in the G20 agenda. According to a report from the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), the upcoming G20 summit in Brisbane in November will be the "perfect opportunity" for global economies to reform the financial and taxation sector while developing plans to address the threat of climate change.

Reuters
Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (L) greets Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in central London August 12, 2014.

CEDA believes the G20 leaders will remain influential in shaping future economic policies. CEDA chief executive Stephen Martin said the G20 will continue to play a major role in facing economic issues.

Martin remarked that tax reforms are needed since multinational corporations have become "bolder" in attempting to avoid tax by creating complicated arrangements to shift profits.

The report expressed CEDA's disappointment about climate change not being part of the G20 agenda. Martin said Australia should ensure that the G20 will not become a "talkfest." Key issues relevant to the local and global economy must be addressed effectively.

He stated that some critics have remarked on the G20's lack of willpower to achieve results regarding climate change. Martin said the G20 summit can become a springboard to forums like the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Paris in 2015.

CEDA said the Abbott government's opposition to climate change as part of the G20 agenda may not be effective since both the United States and China have expressed their interests to tackle the issue.

Mark Beeson, one of the report's authors and a professor of politics and economics, remarked that U.S. President Barack Obama is determined to "do something" about climate change. The president has previously expressed his interest to pursue a wider international agreement on climate change in the G20.

While Mr Obama is focused on the issue, Australia, the host of the G20 summit, wants to keep the subject off the agenda and address economic issues.

When Mr Obama and Mr Abbott met in June, the U.S. president told the Australian leader he wanted climate change and energy efficiency high on G20 agenda. The U.S. has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent while China revealed a 40 per cent target.  

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(Photo: Reuters / Justin Tallis)
Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (L) greets Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in central London August 12, 2014.
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