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Newbury MP criticises Australia's Prime Minister over "mystifying" climate change policies

Richard Benyon slams Tony Abbott's decision to scrap carbon prices

Chris Ord

chris.ord@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886639

MP for Newbury Richard Benyon has slammed Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott over his climate change policies.

The former Environment Minister launched a scathing attack on Mr Abbott in an opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald after the Australian became the first world leader to abolish a carbon price - the charge paid for the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide into the Earth's atmosphere.

The Tory MP called the decision "mystifying" stating the move was against "true Conservative values".

He wrote: "For a country visibly and increasingly exposed to impacts of climate change, Abbott's decision to increase climate risk by becoming the first leader in the world to abolish a carbon price mystified many.

"Abbott's dismissal of climate science and his belief that Australia must choose between economic growth and tackling climate change speak to a distorted vision of what it means to be a conservative."

The MP goes on to criticise the decision to cut Australia's renewable target calling the move "bewildering" for a country with "almost unlimited natural resources".

He adds: "Those who like Abbott persist in regarding climate change as a left-wing conspiracy based on speculative science are in a rapidly dwindling minority."

Mr Benyon said the article, which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday (July 22) was an attempt to put pressure on the Australian PM to reconsider his views on climate change ahead of a global summit later this year.

Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News he said: "We all want a good outcome from the summit in Paris.

"I wasn't writing it to try to intervene in Australia's domestic issues but they are a fellow group of centre-right politicians and Mr Abbott has been very dismissive of the prevailing view point of 97 per cent of climate change scientists.

"We all want a good outcome from this summit in Paris because if we don't do anything it's going to cost us greatly, particularly in parts of the world where climate issues can lead to huge security issues."

The Australian government will be the last developed nation to reveal its post-2020 carbon reduction targets in August prior to the global summit in Paris at the end of the year.

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