The United States will push for climate change to be discussed at this year’s G20 summit in Australia, even if the federal government doesn’t want it on the agenda.
US Ambassador John Berry says his country’s G20 representatives – known as sherpas – are already raising climate change in the lead up to November’s summit in Brisbane.
The passionate conservationist said President Barack Obama believed climate change was a “critical” issue and his administration wouldn’t shy away from encouraging all nations to do their part.
“It’s one the United States will raise in every international forum,” he told the National Press Club on Wednesday.
“It is one we will continue to press on.”
Some countries have criticised Australia for neglecting to put climate change on the G20 agenda, with the government opting to focus on sustained economic growth, trade, and investment.
Ambassador Berry said the US shared these objectives, but also believed they could be advanced while making the planet healthier.
“The president believes we can do this (address climate change) without damaging or hurting the economy,” he said.
The Obama administration has pledged to cut its emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, and will be pushing each country to adopt their own “aggressive” targets to do their fair share.
Trade Minister Andrew Robb conceded while climate change was off the agenda, Australia wouldn’t stop any country from discussing whatever matter they wished.
“So we quite welcome climate change if it was raised by the US or by any other country,” he told reporters in China.
Labor’s climate change spokesman Mark Butler said the government was out of step with the rest of the world on climate change but couldn’t ignore the issue for much longer.