Tony Abbott to 'Forge Alliance' to Counter Obama's Efforts to Push Climate Change on Top

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Tony Abbott
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) talks to a guest during a lunch meeting in Shanghai April 11, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is seeking an alliance among "like-minded" nations to thwart efforts to introduce carbon pricing and American President Barack Obama's move to push climate change through global forums like G20.

Abbott, who is visiting Canada for talks with the country's prime minister and his close friend Stephen Harper, said efforts are underway to form a new "center-right" alliance under the leadership of Canada, UK, Australia, India and New Zealand.

According to reports, the five Commonwealth nations have "center-right" leaning governments but the closeness between Harper and Abbott is being regarded as the most significant alliance. The combination will attempt to move the pace of climate change action via policies like emissions trading or carbon tax.

In a report by the Sydney Morning Herald, it said the alliance may be a "calculated attempt" to push back on what both Mr Abbott and Mr Harper sees as a "left-liberal agenda" to raise taxes and "unwise" plans to address the issue of global warming.

But Abbott said in a media conference that he thought climate change is a significant problem. But it's not the "only problem" the world faces. He said the problem remains significant and countries should act based on what they think is best to reduce carbon emissions.

The prime minister said he was "encouraged" that Obama is looking at what he regards as a direct action measure to curb emissions and found it similar to what he proposes in Australia.

He said policies to address climate change should not hurt the economy. Harper agreed with the statement and said they want to deal with climate change "in a way that enhances our ability to create jobs and growth."

Both leaders may not yield to pressure from the U.S. should Mr Obama revive the issue of climate change ahead of the annual climate summit.

In the previous week, Obama had flagged regulatory changes to influence U.S. states to address global warming by adopting "aggressive market interventions." as decided to take climate change off G20 agenda. In December, Australia became the chair of G20, which is a group composed of 20 countries having the biggest economies in the world.

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