Paris climate pact seen as 'most important environmental agreement ever' in Australia

Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-12-14 9:01:01

Australian MPs hailed the success of the Paris climate talks on Monday, with Environment Minister Greg Hunt describing the pact as "arguably the most important environmental agreement ever."

Hunt, who arrived back from Paris last week, staved off criticism from Liberal party colleagues to praise the agreement, in which 187 countries committed to cutting carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.

Signing nations also committed to keeping global warming "well below" 2 degrees Celsius.

Liberal colleagues have been critical of deal however, with some arguing a sudden cutback in coal consumption could further affect Australia's already-slowing economy.

But Hunt said that as the onus was on individual countries to hit their own targets in their own time, there were no changes to Australia's coal export levels expected in the immediate future.

"What matters is that individual countries meet their caps," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Meanwhile Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the ABC the landmark agreement was formed in a way that limits economic damage to every nation.

"We have for the first time an agreement that covers the entire globe and binding obligations on all nations to play a constructive role according to their individual circumstances," Bishop said on Monday.

"What was important about this agreement was that it balanced environmental concerns and ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with economic growth and economic activity," the foreign minister said.

"There are five yearly reviews to ensure nations are meeting their commitments and it also gives great scope to consider technological breakthroughs which will provide opportunities for even bigger cuts if nations embrace that," Bishop said.

The news follows a decision of the government led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to re-allow government investment in wind power, something which former prime minister Tony Abbott banned earlier this year.

Bishop said it was all part of the government's plan to go from the world's "14th largest emitter down to the 25th" by 2030.

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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