Australia axes carbon tax – international reactions

RTCC rounds up the world’s response to Australia’s repeal of its carbon tax

Connie Hedegaard (Pic: Johannes Jansson)

Connie Hedegaard: “The European Union regrets the repeal of Australia’s carbon pricing mechanism”
(Pic: Johannes Jansson)

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action

The European Union regrets the repeal of Australia’s carbon pricing mechanism just as new carbon pricing initiatives are emerging all around the world. The EU is convinced that pricing carbon is not only the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions, but also THE tool to make the economic paradigm shift the world needs.  This is why the EU will continue to work towards global carbon pricing with all international partners. With today’s repeal of the Carbon Pricing Mechanism, the discussions to link the Australian system and Europe’s carbon market will evidently be discontinued.

Quamrul Chowdhury, Least Developed Countries lead negotiator

I think Australia’s carbon tax repeal is an u-turn and a step backward when the science asks us to take more tough actions [and] cut back emissions urgently.

Globally Australia was applauded when it introduced carbon tax years back and LDCs were also assured of more stronger actions to help rescue tens of millions of climate victims. But this repeal would push the climate victim countries like LDCs, SIDS [small island developing states] and other vulnerable nations where hundreds of millions of people are going under rising sea level and melting ice in a more risky planet. It’s not a right signal when other countries marched towards pricing carbon and stronger action on climate change.

Ed Davey, UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

It was their democratic position; it’s not one we share.

Tim Flannery, head of Australia’s Climate Council

We’re just being left behind badly and unfortunately we won’t get the investments that are required to give us a viable energy infrastructure into the future. It’s really hard to see how we can undo the damage we’ve done … Any savings we have today, unless we can get our house in order, the costs in the future are just awesome.

Wylbur Simuusa, Zambian Minister of Agriculture

It sends a message of helplessness and hopelessness, and a message that we are regressing and not making headway. These are the countries we are looking up to for hope that we are going to survive this. If they are backtracking we have no hope. They have the capacity, technology and resources to deal with this. If they can’t it’s the end of the world for the smaller ones.

Ambassador Marlene Moses, Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States

It is disheartening indeed to see Australia de-prioritise climate change, particularly at a time when the country itself recently suffered record heatwaves and some of its closest small island neighbors face worsening droughts, storms, sea level rise, and other life-threatening impacts from the crisis. What’s more, momentum for international action is finally building ahead of the United Nations Leaders Summit on climate change in September. Australia, unfortunately, seems content to let the world move forward without it.

Marcin Korolec, COP19 president and Polish Environment Secretary

It is not my place to comment on internal national measures of our international partners. We took a decision in Warsaw last year that countries will put on the table their contributions before Paris 2015. I trust Australia will do that as well. How they want to do it is up to them.

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