Honestly. Surely the times of insisting that the IMF top job goes to some European socialist should end? And what happened to the protocol that these overpaid, ill-informed international bureaucrats butt out of the domestic affairs of member countries?
And come off it, Christine – dealing with climate change is good for economic growth. Where did you get that one? Even thought absurdly slanted carbon modelling conducted by our Treasury – remember that? what a disgrace! – didn’t find that.
Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, has urged the Abbott government not to abandon Australia’s role as what she calls “a pioneer” in the debate on climate change.
The former finance minister of France said it would be a mistake to assign climate issues to “the backburner” because action to reduce carbon emissions could strengthen economic growth as well as protecting the environment.
Speaking to Fairfax Media in Paris ahead of her first visit to Australia as IMF chief for a G20 meeting in Sydney next week, Ms Lagarde said previous Australian governments played an important role in international debates about climate change.
“Australia was very much at the forefront, Australia was pioneering in this field, and I would hope that it continues to be a pioneer,” said Ms Lagarde, a former conservative French minister.
“I do think that climate change issues and progress in that regard are critical and are not just fantasies, they are real issues.”
Told of Ms Lagarde’s veiled criticism of the Abbott government’s commitment to climate change policy, the Environment Minister Greg Hunt defended his government’s record.
“The fact the Coalition government is committed to a 5per cent reduction in our domestic emissions by 2020 backed by the Emissions Reduction Fund, shows we take the issue very seriously,” he said.
“Australia is committed to taking action to address climate change.”
Despite being criticised for unwinding the previous government’s hard-won price on carbon pollution, Mr Hunt suggested “anyone who supports tackling climate change would support repealing the carbon tax”.
“As a climate change measure, the carbon tax is a failure,” he said. “Despite being a $7.6 billion hit on the economy, our emissions reduced by only 0.1 per cent in the first year.”
The IMF chief, who oversees more than $1 trillion in loan capacity, applauded Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s promise to try to use his chairmanship of this year’s G20 economic summit in Brisbane to produce a brief and practical communique, but she warned it would not be easy.
Mr Abbott told the World Economic Forum in Davos last month that he would aim for “a communique just three pages long [concentrating on] a few key subjects because progress usually comes one step at a time”.