Australia would be one of the first countries to sign the Paris climate change agreement on April 22 in New York, the federal has announced.
The agreement was made after years of deliberation between 195 nations. UOW lecturer Dr Geoff Kelly, whose research focuses on climate change and government actions to reduce greenhouse emissions, said the agreement was vital in the battle against climate change.
“It is not possible through any national action to exclude the impacts of climate change on a country; equally it is not possible to achieve some international gain unless effectively all countries are committed to the purpose,” Dr Kelly said.
“Efforts being made by some countries may simply be offset by actions by other countries. So the need for action is global; the impacts of the climate phenomenon are global; and hence the structures needed to mobilise international efforts also need to be global.”
The Paris Agreement aims to limit greenhouse gas emissions and minimise global warming, but while it has been welcomed as a positive step some have said it does not go far enough.
Professor Sharon Beder, an expert on environmental politics and policies, said despite Australia being a signatory to the agreement, very little would be done because action was not mandatory. She said the Australian government was “more concerned with facilitating coal extraction.”
Prof. Beder said the agreement was flawed because it involved of vested interests, including fossil fuel-dependent corporations, opposing it. She said these corporations “used their financial, lobbying and propaganda resources to ensure politicians don’t agree to an effective agreement.”