A leading British lawmaker slammed Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's stance on climate change in a Wednesday op-ed in the Australian, calling it "incomprehensible" and "profoundly un-conservative."
British Conservative Party lawmaker Richard Benyon, a former environment minister under British Prime Minister David Cameron, called Abbott's decision to abolish carbon price and cut the country's renewable energy targets "baffling," and condemned Abbott's persistent denial of climate change.
He criticized the Abbott administration's last year's decision to repeal the carbon tax, which has reportedly caused a jump in electricity emissions. He also condemned a July decision where the government slashed funding for household renewable energy, part of a wider series of moves by the leader against renewable energy.
"To run against the prevailing wind is to risk alienation, and those who like Abbott persist in regarding climate change as a left-wing conspiracy based on speculative science are in a rapidly dwindling minority," Benyon said. "Doctors, business leaders and economists are calling for emission cuts. Most notably, the Pope has recently condemned those 'who possess more resources and economic or political power (but) seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms."
"True conservative values include distaste for over-regulation and enthusiasm for entrepreneurialism. But they also include a respect for sound science and economics, a belief in protecting the natural world and a responsibility to do the best for the biggest possible number of one's citizens," Benyon added.
Canberra has also delayed revealing its post-2020 targets on carbon reduction until August, making it the last developed nation to do so. The targets are set to be revealed ahead of a major December conference on climate change to be held in Paris.
The opposition Labor Party this week unveiled a major plan that would call for half of the country's energy to come from renewable sources by 2030. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said that voters had a "clear cut choice" between his Australian Labor Party and Abbott's Australian Conservative Party ahead of the next election.
"The rest of the world is already moving on renewable energy," Shorten reportedly said. "You do no favors for the people of Australia, no favors to your own families and successive generations by saying we can't do anything about climate change."