Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott is seeking out “like-minded” countries to form an alliance to thwart climate policies being pushed by President Obama and other world leaders.
Abbott announced his intention to stymie efforts to push climate policies on unwilling countries as he met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday. Abbott said he seeks to build a conservative alliance with Canada, Britain, India and New Zealand.
All are Commonwealth countries that were formerly part of the British Empire and are led by center-right governments, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
President Obama’s recently announced regulations on power plants have gained international recognition from the United Nations and some European countries. The White House hopes its new regulations will give the U.S. leverage when negotiating a new international climate deal in 2015.
But Abbott’s planned coalition aims to counter Obama’s push to get the international community to adopt climate policies, like carbon taxes and cap-and-trade schemes.
Abbott’s conservative Liberal-National coalition won a landslide victory in Australia’s elections last year, on a limited government platform that included repealing the country’s carbon tax and cutting green energy and global warming spending.
Abbott’s government is set to slash global warming spending by 90 percent over the next four years. Efforts to repeal the country’s carbon tax have also moved forward as Labor Party Senators have begun to buckle under pressure to get rid of the tax.
“The carbon tax is an act of economic vandalism,” Abbott said in March. “You can’t trust [Labor] anywhere near an economy.”
A study from last year by Dr. Alex Robson, an economist at Griffith University found that after just one year, the carbon tax increased taxes on 2.2 million Australians while doing nothing to decrease the country’s carbon emissions.
Robson’s study also found the carbon tax raised electricity prices 15 percent while the country’s unemployment rate shot up by 10 percent after the carbon tax was implemented.
But while Australia has been ditching its climate policies, the U.S. has been pushing ahead. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that U.S. officials have been pushing the G20 to include global warming on the agenda for the group’s meeting in Australia this fall.
Even though Abbott is targeting conservative governments for his anti-Obama alliance, it may be difficult to find takers. Britain and New Zealand both have cap-and-trade schemes. British Prime Minister David Cameron has also stressed his support for tackling global warming.