Tony Abbott says Australian climate policy has much in common with the United States.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has rejected suggestions before his visit to North America that Australia’s position on climate change is out of sync with the US.
Mr Abbott on Wednesday begins a four-nation tour, taking in a meeting with Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the 70th anniversary of D-Day in France and a trade and investment mission in Canada and the United States.
The trip – to include a meeting with Barack Obama in Washington – comes as the US president announced a plan to cut carbon pollution by 30 per cent from existing power plants by 2030.
Republican opponents and business groups have launched campaigns against the proposal, saying it will destroy jobs.
Mr Abbott, who aims to repeal Labor’s carbon tax in July replacing it with a taxpayer-funded emissions reduction fund, told parliament on Tuesday the two countries had policies in common.
“There is no carbon tax in the United States. There is no emissions trading scheme in the United States,” he said.
“What the United States is doing is taking sensible direct action steps to reduce its emissions which is exactly what this government is proposing to do.”
The Australian government is committed to reducing emissions by five per cent by 2020.
Mr Abbott later said in a statement that abolition of the carbon tax would make Australia more attractive for North American investors.
The response came after Labor used parliamentary question time to ridicule the prime minister over his previous description of climate change science as “absolute crap”.
“Will the prime minister raise his views on the science of climate change with President Obama next week or are some jokes best left at home?” Labor MP Matt Thistlethwaite asked.
Australian Greens leader Christine Milne said Mr Abbott’s “coal vision” for the world would not go down well with the US president.
The prime minister will be accompanied to the US by a 20-member business delegation while another will visit Ottawa and Toronto with Trade Minister Andrew Robb.
In France, Mr Abbott will take part in ceremonies at Normandy, visit World War I battlefields and meet with president Francois Hollande.
The meeting with Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper will be the first for an Australian leader since 2006.