Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to attend December's United Nations climate change conference in Paris.
Source:
AAP
25 Oct 2015 - 11:27 AM  UPDATED 25 Oct 2015 - 4:06 PM

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will attend the upcoming United Nations climate change conference, which is expected to produce a global carbon emissions agreement.

He has told the Guardian Australia he will head to Paris for the December conference after the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta, armed with the coalition's 2030 emissions reduction target of 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels.

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His predecessor Tony Abbott was not expected to attend the conference after he scrapped the carbon tax, reduced Australia's renewable energy target and criticised wind farms for being ugly.

Before Turnbull became prime minister, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had been expected to represent Australia at the UN meeting instead of Abbott. 

With its heavy use of coal-fired power, Australia is considered one of the world's worst per capita greenhouse gas polluters. 

Australia's carbon emission targets criticised

Australia's target of 26-28 per cent reduction at 2030 compared to 2005 levels have been criticised as falling below the recommendation set by the Climate Change Authority. 

The authority suggests a 40-60 per cent reduction at 2030 compared to 2000 levels. 

Australia's 2030 climate target puts us in the race, but at the back
Australia’s target for reduction in absolute emissions is significantly weaker than that of the United States and the EU, a little weaker than Canada’s, and a little stronger than Japan’s.

Turnbull, who lost a Liberal party leadership challenge in 2009 over his support for a carbon emissions trading scheme, indicated he could be open to deepening the targets.  

"Sure... arguably, that depends on the rest of the world," he told the Guardian. 

Since assuming the prime ministership, Turnbull said there will be no departure from his predecessor Tony Abbott's policies on cilmate change. 

Federal opposition plans visit to Pacific islands to see impacts of climate change

Meanwhile, Bill Shorten said he plans to visit remote Pacific islands at risk from rising sea levels.

"It's not a question of what places you visit or what selfies you take when you visit places, it's a question of your actions," he told reporters in Alice Springs on Sunday.

"Whether or not Malcolm Turnbull goes to Paris or not is not going to stop global warming."

The government was selling Australians short with "low targets and low ambition", he said.

The federal opposition leader, his deputy Tanya Plibersek and immigration spokesman Richard Marles will leave next weekend on a four-day tour of Papua New Guinea, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.

Labor wants to put climate change at the centre of public debate ahead of a major United Nations summit in Paris later this year.

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