Malcolm Turnbull is resisting pressure from within his own ranks to reconsider Australia’s commitment to the Paris agreement after Donald Trump announced the United States is pulling out.
Labor leader Bill Shorten says the US has failed to stand by its 2015 promise to stick to the global deal and has urged the prime minister to press Mr Trump to reconsider the decision.
At least three coalition MPs have called for a rethink of Australia’s involvement in the climate pact following the US decision because of its potential impact on business.
The prime minister says the government will not be following the US.
“We are committed to the Paris agreement,” he told reporters on Friday in Singapore, where he is attending security talks.
“We are on track to meet our 2030 targets of a reduction in emissions by 26 per cent to 28 per cent from 2005 levels – and I should say we are doing well.”
Liberal MP Craig Kelly, who chairs parliament’s environment committee, hailed Mr Trump’s decision and questioned the benefits of Australia remaining in it as “something to monitor”.
“The idea we can lock something in and leave it for a decade is just not the reality of the real world,” Mr Kelly told Sky News on Friday.
Liberal Senator Eric Abetz says a report by chief scientist Alan Finkel on Australia’s electricity sector should be delayed while a thorough assessment is made of the US decision’s impact.
However, Mr Turnbull says the report will be presented as planned next week when he meets with the premiers in Hobart.
“We are committed to ensuring that Australians have affordable and reliable energy and that we meet our emission reduction targets,” Mr Turnbull said.
Mr Shorten said Mr Trump had made the wrong decision.
“We call upon prime minister Turnbull not to follow Donald Trump’s lead, to give in to the right-wing dinosaurs of the right of his party,” he told reporters in Perth.
The Australian Industry Group said the Trump decision made it all the more important for the federal government to provide a clear, long-term climate policy.
More than 190 countries signed onto the deal, with 146 proceeding to ratify the agreement.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will get the chance to discuss the issue with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Sydney next week.
In making his announcement, Mr Trump said he was willing to make a new deal but only one that was “fair” for the US, suggesting the existing agreement was about other countries gaining an advantage over the US.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale says while the “cowardly decision” will be welcomed by parties such as One Nation and some members of the Liberal party, it won’t dent Australia’s commitment to dealing with climate change.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific condemned the move but says it believes the rest of the world will continue to make progress on ambitious climate actions, while Australian investors in renewable energy have also expressed disappointment.