Australia “seriously concerned” about draft climate deal

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the new few days will be challenging, with Australia said to have “serious concerns” over the latest form of a global climate agreement.

A new draft agreement was revealed on Wednesday at the United Nations climate change conference, with no clear landing point on key hurdles of finance, ambition and differentiation.

Ms Bishop warned the document was a long way from attracting her signature.


Australia’s environment ambassador Peter Woolcott – speaking on behalf a negotiating block of developed countries – told the conference the group had serious concerns about the text.

“We are deeply disappointed at the weakening of several provisions,” he said on Wednesday night. “As we move forward we must avoid a situation where, in an effort to reach consensus, we strip the Paris outcome of its ability to be a genuine step change.”

It comes as the United States joined around 100 countries in a new alliance dubbed the high ambition coalition which vows to strengthen Wednesday’s draft.

The coalition is calling for five yearly reviews of country emissions pledges, adequate climate finance for poor countries and a clear pathway to a low-carbon future.

It also wants recognition of an ambition to limit global warming to 1.5C – below the 2C target accepted by most developed countries.

Earlier, the foreign minister flagged Australia’s intention to sign onto a New Zealand-led initiative to boost transparency and integrity of international carbon markets.

Australia doesn’t use international units, but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has flagged it as an option when domestic climate policies are reviewed in 2017.