The latest update of a report that assessed 66 countries on their climate change mitigation strategies has singled out Australia as being the only country to wind back national climate legislation.
The report was complied by Globe International, a body which assesses climate mitigation laws worldwide, and its head, Lord Deben, described moves to abolish the carbon tax in Australia as being “very disappointing” – in an interview with the Financial Times.
Lord Deben, when he was John Gummer, was a former UK government minister under Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major. He has lashed out at the Abbott government’s climate policies as being, “so unintellectual as to be unacceptable; I mean it is just amazing.”
The British peer’s remarks to the Financial Times, itself hardly a bastion of radicalism, included a stab at the climate analysts from which Abbott bases his climate policy, describing their work as “very dubious.”
“[This is] the last example of a government coming to power on the basis that really all this [climate change] is nonsense,” said Deben.
While Australia’s recent climate policies came in for criticism from Lord Deben and were highlighted in the Globe International Report, Canada and Japan were also identified as having emission policy heading in the wrong direction.
Canada’s national policies were somewhat tempered by provincial initiatives, including carbon taxes and renewable energy incentives. Japan’s emission trajectory was also influenced heavily by the country’s move away from nuclear in the wake of the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster.
Globe International’s climate mitigation policy work is carried out in partnership with the London School of Economics. The report reviews 500 pieces of relevant legislation and tracks measures back to 1997. It is the fourth edition of the study and comes in at 700 pages long. The countries surveyed in the report account for more than 90% of the world’s carbon emissions.
Lord Deben’s forward to the report reads: “The study shows that 61 out of 66 countries have passed laws to promote domestic, clean sources of energy and 54 have legislated to increase energy efficiency… legislation is progressing at a rapid rate, reflecting the fact that addressing climate change is being seen firmly in the national interest.”
Australia’s climate mitigation policies seem to moving at a similar pace in the opposition direction.
The Globe International report notes that the legislation aimed at dismantling Australia’s climate mitigation policies have not been passed by the Senate. What is effectively a bisection for the West Australian Senate is therefore taking on great significance in this regard.
Lord Deben is a Conservative Party peer and his comments echo those made to RenewEconomy last week by Australian economist and climate policy advisor Ross Garnaut.
“This isn’t a conservative government in Australia, this is radical government,” Garnaut said. “A conservative government would’ve wanted to conserve all the good things about Australian life wouldn’t be seeking to undermine the current climate policies.”