The push for climate change discussions gained momentum on Wednesday, when US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping reached a landmark agreement on clean energy.
In a statement issued by the White House, the US has adjusted its target to cut net greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025. China targets to peak carbon emissions around 2030 and to increase the non-fossil fuel share of all energy to around 20 per cent by 2030.
Labor and the Greens used the announcement to once again urge Prime Minister Tony Abbott to put climate change on the agenda for this week’s G20 summit, stating that his “flat-earth views” were out of touch with the rest of the world’s leaders.
Former prime minister Paul Keating joined the chorus on Wednesday evening, telling the ABC’s Lateline program that climate “has to be” on the agenda.
Mr Keating also described the government’s Direct Action plan as a “complete nonsense policy”.
His comments followed a break down in negotiations between the government and opposition on the renewable energy target (RET), leaving Mr Abbott to reply on cross bench support in the Senate.
Family First Senator Bob Day has said he would support a rollback of the renewable energy target.
In a statement, Senator Day said the best policy would be to “abolish the RET altogether”.
“The RET has made no change to the climate,” he said.
“I’m talking with my crossbench colleagues about how we can work with the Government to reduce the RET.”
Conversely, Palmer United Party Senator Jacqui Lambie has restated her commitment to block legislation in the Senate.
She said she would not negotiate on the renewable energy target until Mr Abbott addressed wage deals with Australian Defence Force members.