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Tony Abbott Wants An Alliance With UK That Limits Action Over Climate Change 'Crap'

11/06/2014 11:21 BST | Updated 11/06/2014 12:59 BST
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CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 16: Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott announces his ministery at Parliament House on September 16, 2013 in Canberra, Australia. Tony Abbot will be sworn in this week as the 28th Prime Minister of Australia. (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images)

The Australian Prime Minister, who once famously said that climate change is "absolute crap," has invited the UK to join an alliance of "like-minded" nations to limit action on the global issue.

In an effort to counter Barack Obama’s efforts for international action to reduce carbon emissions, Tony Abbott wants other countries with conservative governments to join Australia in resisting a legally-binding international deal on carbon emissions.

He has revealed he is only keen for limited action that would not "clobber the economy."

Abbott, who has abolished Australia's Climate Commission and is currently under fire about his plans for most of Australia's national heritage sites, is seeking to form a conservative alliance that aims to undermine what he calls a "left-liberal" push by US President Barack Obama to ramp up green taxes.

The Australian prime minister has already been branded a "climate criminal".

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Abbott has said efforts are underway to form a new "centre-right" stance towards climate changeincluding Britain, as well as India and New Zealand.

Standing alongside Canadian Prime Minister and close friend Stephen Harper during a visit to Ottawa, Abbott said climate change is "not the only or even the most important problem the world faces but it is a significant problem and it’s important every country should take the action that it thinks is best to address emissions."

He said no country would ever take action that would harm its economy, but that Australia "are just a bit more frank about that than other countries."

"It’s not that we don’t seek to deal with climate change," he insisted.

"We seek to deal with it in a way that enhances our ability to create jobs and growth, this is their position."

Following the comments, Australia's opposition leader Bill Shorten took aim at the Prime Minister's "flat-Earth views", accusing him of being out of touch with Australians and world leaders such as President Obama.

He told Fairfax Media that climate change was "not just an environmental issue, it is a security issue and it is absolutely an economic issue".

But it appears the British Government has distanced itself from the Australian alliance.

Downing Street was last year forced to deny reports that David Cameron was aiming to make a huge U-turn on green energy by ordering aides to "get rid of all the green crap".

Climate change is due to move up the political agenda in the coming months, with a United Nations summit on climate action planned for September, to be hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

It will lay the groundwork for a legally-binding global deal on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to be agreed in Paris in December 2015.

But Abbott's uncompromising attitude suggests he is not inclined to yield to pressure from the US to revive the issue of climate change ahead of next years’ climate summit, nor back any international coordination such as additional regulations or a trading scheme.

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