New Foreign Minister Marise Payne (pictured) has acknowledged she is carrying the baggage of “an extremely difficult week” over Australia’s approach to climate change as she faces Pacific island leaders worried about the threat to their countries posed by rising sea levels.
The Conservative Party's position on climate change is that it is not primarily driven by human activity and that as long as China and India continue to increase emissions, any reduction by Australia would be both insignificant and economically damaging.
Senator Payne is in Nauru for her first overseas meeting, the Pacific Islands Forum, where she is facing questions from leaders in the neighbourhood about Australia’s commitment to climate action after the chaotic leadership change in Canberra last month.
“Pacific island countries are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” Minister Payne said in lock-step with the Paris paradigm, “and to the impacts of natural disasters. That therefore means it is a top priority for the region and I absolutely acknowledge that,” Minister Payne said.
Some have ridiculed the Pacific Islands' insistence on Australia reducing its CO2 emissions when Australia makes a miniscule contribution to global CO2 emissions and, in turn, alleged man-made climate change and further alleged man-driven sea level rises threatening the land mass of Pacific nations.
The Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison Coalition governments have all committed under the Paris climate pact to cut CO2 emissions by 26 per cent by 2030. The extent to which the target is binding remains at large after a series of policy changes surrounding the leadership battle that anointed Scott Morrison the 7th prime minister in 11 years.
Some Coalition MPs during the tumult of recent weeks have openly called for Australia to abandon its Paris pledge, parroting the Conservative Party's policy position.
Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi has told Sydney radio station 2GB the whole climate change caper is a money-making scam.
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