Pacific leaders have previously voiced their frustration at Australia’s inaction on the climate emergency. On a visit to Australia earlier this year, Vanuatu’s foreign affairs minister, Ralph Regenvanu, said Australia needed to “step up” its efforts to combat the climate crisis.
Australia had the world’s 15th largest greenhouse gas emissions in 2015 and its citizens’ per-capita contribution is around three times the global average. It is the world’s second largest coal exporter and recently became the top exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG). Its electricity system remains heavily reliant on coal, despite ramping up the use of gas and renewables, especially rooftop solar.
Australia will stop contributions to the UN’s major fund for battling climate change this year, according to government budget papers released on Tuesday. With a federal election looming, the government followed up on prime minister Scott Morrison’s threat not to “tip money into that big climate fund”.
The $2bn promised for Australia’s greenhouse gas abatement projects will be spread over 15 years, not 10, Tuesday’s budget revealed. The Coalition plans to spend its $2bn “climate solutions fund” over 15 years, not 10, as promised when it unveiled the rebadged emissions reduction policy in February.