Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Australia struggles to pass climate change bill

Australia's ambitious plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions appeared doomed when a crucial senator said today he would not vote for the government's proposed laws.

Senator Steve Fielding is one of two independents in the Senate the government needs this week to pass its blueprint to curb Australia's carbon dioxide emissions, one of the greenhouse gases blamed for dangerous climate change.

But Mr Fielding said the government had failed to convince him that man-made carbon dioxide emissions were elevating global temperatures.

"I don't know how any parliamentarian could vote for this legislation," Mr Fielding told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio.

Mr Fielding's doubt remains despite the findings of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an organisation of more than 2,000 scientists, that climate change is "very likely" man-made.

Mr Fielding believes that solar flares might be driving climate change instead.

The government wants the Senate to pass its carbon dioxide reduction laws this week, but it has yet to secure the support of any senator outside the ruling Labour Party. Labour holds only 32 of the 76 Senate seats.

The government hopes it can pass the legislation with the support of Mr Fielding, fellow independent Nick Xenophon and the five Australian Greens party senators.

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