By ALYS GAGNON
Last week was a pretty big week for climate change on the world stage.
The United Nations held a Climate Summit, where the leaders of the world came together to plan how to tackle climate change.
It was a summit that Prime Minister Tony Abbott failed to attend. He arrived on Wednesday for other UN Business, and gave an address to the General Assembly on the Thursday.
In his address Mr Abbott listed, “all our [global] problems, the murderous rage of ISIL in Syria and Iraq, Russian aggression in Ukraine, the spread of Ebola in West Africa and the stubborn sluggishness of many economies”.
But where was climate change?
About five minutes into the speech where Mr Abbott boasted about abolishing the carbon tax as an example of taking leadership on the global stage.
For a while there, Australia did quite a bit to take action on climate change. Former Prime Minister John Howard was planning an emissions trading scheme. We ratified the Kyoto Protocol, a global agreement from the late 90s to take action on climate change. We have some pretty good programs to support people to install renewable energy sources in their homes. We have a renewable energy target, a scheme that encourages energy producers to move to more renewable energy sources like wind or solar power.
And we had the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme – a market based carbon pricing mechanism. It was a scheme that would see the biggest polluters pay per tonne of carbon emitted into the atmosphere, with compensation provided to low and middle income holders to offset any cost of living increases. The Scheme encouraged businesses to adapt to a changing environment and to find new and innovative ways of doing business – being good business and good environmental citizens all at once.