Below is a selection of today’s media reactions to the G20 meeting.
As might be expected, much of the commentary reflects climate change, which was initiated as an issue by Obama in a speech made outside the meeting. Some commentators see this as an indirect attack on the Abbott government and there is little doubt that the Opposition will attempt to use the speech to attack Abbott and argue that he should announce additional commitments/ measures to reduce emissions.
Indeed, in reacting to Xi’s address to Parliament this afternoon, Shorten went out of his way to draw attention to the US/China agreement on climate change. But Xi himself appears to have made no reference to it in his address.
As the excellent article below by Andrew Bolt makes clear, any idea that Abbott is on the back foot as a result of the Obama speech, and his agreement with the Chinese, is not a good reading of the implications of the Obama speech.
The reality is that China has indicated no more than an intention to start reducing CO2 emissions in 16 years time. This means other developing countries will almost certainly indicate emission reduction policies at Paris next year which are similar and which do not involve legal commitments. As emissions by those countries will probably constitute 70 % of the world total by 2030, Obama has effectively prevented any substantive agreement before 2030 to reduce emissions to the extent needed, according to warmists, to stop temperatures rising.
Further, while Obama claims he intends to reduce US emissions at a faster rate to 2025, the increased use of gas there may do that without any policy changes ie “cheap” gas and existing EPA regulations are already limiting the use of coal in electricity generation. Even if additional regulations would be needed to achieve the target, Obama will have no say on regulatory policy after 2016. Republican leaders have indicated that regulatory measures before then to help reach the proposed US target would be strenuously opposed, with any Obama vetos likely to be reversed.
In short, arising out of the US/China agreement it is now highly likely that there will be no substantive agreement in Paris next year to reduce emissions and total emissions will continue to increase until at least 2030.
This means there is no cause for Australia to adopt or commit to policies additional to those already announced. In fact, Abbott could justifiably review existing policies, particularly on renewable energy, as more evidence emerges about the dubiousness of the claimed connection between human activity and temperatures. The clear uncertainties about the science, together with Obama’s mistaken initiative with China, now make a strong case to conduct such a review with a view to in particular reducing usage of renewables.