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Australia repeals fossil-fuel limits prior to Group of 20 meeting

Business Leaders Gather For B20 Summit In Sydney
Business Leaders Gather For B20 Summit In Sydney
Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Australia repealed its levy limiting fossil-fuel pollution and became the first nation to turn its back on a tax based fight against global warming. Bloomberg reported yesterday that Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government approved on Friday a vote from Parliament that the levy against companies for carbon emissions would be repealed.

This turn of events leaves Australia and about 300 companies removed from a system to reduce the greenhouse gases which come prior to hosting a meeting of the Group of 20 nations. Australia emits the most in greenhouse gases but has chosen to change its path for management of the future in the issue of climate control.

The expectations from the US and Europe was for Australia, the worse polluter from carbon emissions, to lead the group and assist the UN in its policy making talks when establishing a guideline for China in 2015.

EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hildegard said that the EU planned to link its emissions trading system, the largest worldwide, with the one that would have started next year in Australia.

This action is viewed by John Connor, chief executive officer of The Climate Institute, a Sydney-based environmental group as a “historic act of irresponsibility and recklessness.”

Abbott told reporters yesterday that Australia is a conservationist government and it has put aside $A2.6 billion for a new program known as Direct Action. This program places monetary reward to companies that volunteer to reduce their emissions. The level of responsible action to support this policy approach is unknown at this time.

Christine Milne, the Greens' leader considers Australia will become known as the "pariah" of climate change. This vote to eliminate the tax levy comes after the knowledge that carbon pricing was working. A study by the Australian National University’s Center for Climate Economics and Policy links the tax levy to a 0.8 per cent drop in emissions in 2013, according to the Australian Independent today.