UN Countries Question Australia Over Climate And Energy Policy

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Australia’s clean energy and climate policy (or lack thereof) has been brought back back into international focus again these last few weeks, as the country’s politicians continue to bicker over the Renewable Energy Target. Such political uncertainty has also led several major UN nations to present Australia with questions to explain their lack of political support for a cleaner future, with Brazil even going so far as to highlight Australia’s “low level of ambition.”

Over the past week, two reports have shown that the current political bickering has cost Australia’s renewable energy industry dearly, not to mention worldwide coverage concerning Australia’s poor performance and unwillingness to commit to agreed upon climate facts and goals.

On Monday of last week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released a report which showed that the country’s renewable energy sector lost almost 2,500 jobs over 2013-14. According to the figures published by the ABS, renewable energy industry jobs dropped 15%, or 2,300, from the peak of 14,890 recorded in 2011-12.

Two days later, a new analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance showed that investment in the Australian renewable energy industry plummeted 90% over the 12 months since 31 March, 2014, “stifled by more than 13 months of policy uncertainty.”

australia wind farm“We’re going backward if you compare us to quite a wide range of countries,” Andrew Thomson, managing director of Acciona Energy in Australia, said by phone to Bloomberg. “For companies operating in Australia, many would be saying, it’s getting extremely difficult here, why don’t we take a look at the broader region, Southeast Asia for example.”

These two reports followed a white paper published by the Australian Government on its energy policy, which was subsequently pulled apart by news agencies and industry representatives the country over.

So it comes as no real surprise, then, that United Nations’ countries are also going to be asking questions of Australia. The UN has compiled a list of questions presented to Australia (PDF) from a number of countries, including from big emitters like the United States and China. Even countries like Saudi Arabia and Brazil got in on the action, calling in to question Australia’s “initiative to support sustainable development” and Australia’s “level of ambition.”

Of the over 35 questions presented to Australia in the March session of the UN, not a single one has an answer from Australia — and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the most telling point of it all.

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

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