Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) is pictured on the floor of Australia's House of Representatives with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) and Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten following Abe's address to both houses of parliament in Canberra July 8, 2014. REUTERS/Lukas Coch/Pool (AUSTRALIA - Tags: POLITICS)
While Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott may have won crossbenchers to his side to rush the repeal of the Labor government's carbon tax, he was condemned in the international arena for his move to remove the tax.
Lord Deben, former head of the Conservative Party in the UK, said it is an appalling move because it recklessly endangered the future. He accused the Abbott government of being more concerned with pushing for its short-term political interests than addressing the issue of global warming.
"Australia's actions are appalling. While the 66 countries that account for 88 per cent of global emissions have passed laws to address global warming, Australia is repealing them," said the statement by Lord Deben, the current chairman of the independent UK Committee on Climate Change.
He pointed out that Australia's carbon price was already working by cutting emissions without the economic damage anticipated by Aussies. Lord Deben added the issue is not a national matter but "We are all in this together and Mr Abbott is recklessly endangering our future, as he is Australia's."
A spokesman for Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt defended the plan to repeal the carbon tax law, insisting it would replace it with a policy that will actually work because the current carbon tax "isn't reducing emissions in a meaningful way." He said the new policy would make Australia reach its 5 per cent emissions reduction target by 2020.
But Lord Deben said the 5 per cent target is weak.
UK Labor climate change spokesman Mark Butler agreed, saying, "Tony Abbott has taken Australia from an international leader to an international embarrassment."
On Tuesday, the crossbenchers - who sided with the Opposition and the Greens in pushing for a climate change debate before voting on the repeal legislation - changed their stand and agreed to bring forward debate on the bill.