Obama expected to request G20 climate discussion  

With Prime Minister Tony Abbott set to meet Barack Obama next week for the first time since taking office, it is likely that the US President will pressure Mr Abbott to reintroduce climate change to the agenda for the upcoming G20 summit being held in Australia in November.

With a firm commitment to abolishing the carbon tax, a review of the renewable energy target and a number of green agencies being axed, Mr Abbott will be hoping to focus discussion at the G20 on improving trade agreements and deflecting attention away from emissions targets for fear of being cast unfavorably on the global stage.

Last month both the Swedish and Italian ambassadors voiced their surprise at the government’s decision to ditch a market based mechanism to cap emissions.

Mr Obama announced earlier this week that he was cracking down on coal-fired power plants, that contribute 40% of the country’s carbon emissions, in the hopes of encouraging others countries like India and China to do the same.

David Waskow, climate analyst with the World Resources Institute, told the ABC:

I think Australia certainly is among those that the president would see as a country that should move forward and rather, in the case of Australia, rather than regressing on its climate action, should in fact move forward, in part in response to the actions the United States has taken.

Switching from coal to natural gas and the downturn in the economy have seen US emission rates fall 10%, meanwhile China’s emissions have increased 50% from 2005 levels.

Anticipating Mr Obama’s announcement on Monday, the deputy chairman of China’s Advisory Committee on Climate Change has suggested capping emissions should form part of China’s energy solution.

He Jiankun told Reuters, “The government will use two ways to control CO2 emissions in the next five-year plan, by intensity and an absolute cap.” It was later clarified that Jiankun was speaking in his capacity as a professor and the comment was not reflective of any upcoming policy announcements.