Australia joins the next round of international climate change talks with a treat in its bag after the federal government ratified the Paris agreement.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Thursday announced the federal government had ratified the agreement, which commits countries to work towards limiting global warming to two degrees and set five-yearly targets for cutting emissions.
“Almost a year from the Paris conference, it is clear the agreement was a watershed, a turning point and the adoption of a comprehensive strategy has galvanised the international community and spurred on global action,” he told reporters in Canberra.
The deal has already been ratified and come into effect globally but Australia was delayed in finalising its agreement because of the July federal election.
More than 100 countries, representing 70 per cent of the world’s emissions and three-quarters of global GDP, have now ratified the deal.
Mr Turnbull said Australia was on track to meet and “indeed beat” its 2020 reduction targets.
Climate and energy policies would be reviewed next year to ensure the 2030 targets were also met.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg next week join the United Nations climate change talks, which are now underway in Marrakech.
They’ll promote Australia’s interests while working with other countries to settle the rules to guide the Paris agreement’s implementation, Ms Bishop said.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific said the ratification was an important first step but the country has to “make a huge climate U-turn” to live up to its promises.
Australia’s ratification of the deal comes as Donald Trump’s election to the US presidency puts global action on climate change under threat.
Mr Trump has said he’ll withdraw America from the Paris agreement and stop spending on UN climate change programs.
However, under the agreement’s terms no country can back out until November 2020 at the earliest.
Even if America does pull out, Australia won’t follow.
“When Australia makes a commitment to a global agreement, we follow through and that is exactly what we are doing,” Mr Turnbull said.