Will history call this “The Pope Francis effect”? 59



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After denying climate change and declaring coal to be “good for humanity”, our Prime Minister seems to have had a change of heart on the issue overnight, with breaking reports he will announce higher-than expected emissions reduction targets next month.

Fairfax newspapers reports the Abbott Government is considering even tougher targets than conservatives in cabinet had wanted for the post-2020 period. This would bring Australia into line with international policy on climate change and possibly override Tony Abbott’s reputation as a climate-change denier.

It’s expected Mr Abbott will announce emissions reduction targets of 24 to 28 per cent by 2030, which is on par with the US and Canada. Both countries have stepped up their commitment to reducing CO2 in recent months.

So what has brought about this change of heart for the Prime Minister? Is it public pressure? Does it come from within his own party?

Some say he walks a fine line between maintaining the support of Liberal voters who have turned away from his hard-line on climate policy until now. The challenge for Mr Abbott is appeasing these voters without alienating the conservatives in his party who supported him rather than Malcolm Turnbull.

And is it a coincidence that Mr Abbott’s new approach to climate change comes less than a week after Pope Francis’ encyclical in which he called for governments to prevent the world turning into an immense “pile of filth”?

Senator Waters said in the Senate on Monday, “The Prime Minister has failed to listen to the scientists, will he now listen to the leader of his own church and abandon his attacks on the clean energy target.”

Attorney General George Brandis responded angrily to this, saying, “I’ll tell you what we will be doing, Senator Waters, we will be setting our priorities and making our policy decisions in accordance and good public policy, not in accordance with theology.”

The new challenge for the Prime Minister will be setting a plan to meet the ambitious targets, if the Government does go ahead with them, without a carbon tax, which was a key promise of his election campaign.

What do you think has inspired the Prime Minister’s change of heart on climate change? Do you think he can win back voters?

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  1. Now the Pope has come out and said something about it, Tony Abbott is scared he will go to hell if he doesn’t comply, he doesn’t seem mind putting us through hell on earth in the meantime 🙂

  2. I will believe the Coalition if I see it. And that’s not when because I no longer believe anything they say.

  3. Don’t look the big holes in the ground..look at the windmill..coal is good for humanity..it is all a con to try to get back votes

  4. Climate change has been going on for a long, long time. So before modern man was demonised for this natural event, we must assume the dinosaurs farting caused the last glacial meltdown!

    2 REPLY
  5. Why do people believe this rot. Scientists have found fossil remains at the south pole which means the south pole was once the east. Give it a few more million years and it will be the west. Also the earth is moving closer to the sun so of course the climate is changing, got nothing to do with humans

    3 REPLY
    • No, Maxine, it doesn’t mean the south pole was the east pole. Where did you get that ridiculous bit of information? Are you suggesting the planet regularly flops around? If you know anything about climate change over millenia, you would know that the planet’s temperates change at regular (by millenia standards) intervals. The fact that fossils have been found at the south pole prove that area was once something other than just ice covered. Archaeological and geological discoveries have proved that the Sahara was once a forest, parts of inland Australia was under the sea – I could go on for pages but suggest instead you do some serious research before making uneducated comments.

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