Australia has missed out on being part of the historical moment when the globe’s first legally binding deal on climate change is propelled into force.
The Paris United Nations climate change agreement will come into effect next month after countries representing more than half the world’s carbon dioxide emitters ratified the deal.
Among them are the European Union – which formally agreed to ratify the deal on Tuesday – China, India and the United States.
But Australia is not included, with the federal government only tabling the agreement in parliament in its first week back after the July 2 election.
The parliamentary committee into treaties is still examining the deal, with a public hearing on Thursday and submissions closing on Friday.
A spokesman for Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg told stated the government was trying to get it ratified as soon as possible.
As part of Australia’s domestic processes, the parliamentary committee was looking at the deal, he said.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop insists Australia wants to ratify the agreement before the end of the year.
The election is being blamed for the delay in tabling the agreement, which was struck in Paris last December.
But Greenpeace said it was time for Australia to follow the lead of countries like China and prove it’s serious about climate change.
“It’s unfortunate that at a time in history when other world leaders are taking action in the global battle against climate change, Australia’s ill-informed political leaders are hurling insults at wind turbines,” Greenpeace Australia senior climate campaigner Nikola Casule said.
Recent damaging storms in South Australia that triggered a statewide blackout have sparked a debate about the impact of high renewable energy targets on grid security.
The Paris agreement comes into effect 30 days after 55 per cent of the world’s emitters ratify it but doesn’t apply until 2020.
The EU is the 63rd party of 196 to ratify the deal.
The agreement requires parties to submit a national emissions reduction target every five years with the goal of keeping global warming increases below 2C.