Australia has become the first nation in the developed world to wind back legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, after the Senate voted to scrap the controversial carbon tax on Thursday.
The vote has delivered a major victory to the conservative government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who went into last year’s election promising to abolish the “toxic tax” which he said threatened the nation’s economy, the world’s 12th largest.
After days of tense negotiations the repeal bill passed the Senate 39 to 32.
The scrapping of the carbon tax comes as Australia prepares to host the G20 summit in Brisbane in November. United States President Barack Obama, who recently unveiled a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels, wants climate change to be one of the main items on the G20’s agenda.
But Mr. Abbott, who has questioned the science of human-caused climate change, is resisting the move. The issue was a major sticking point during his first meeting as prime minister with Mr. Obama in Washington last month, with Abbott saying he would not support any measure aimed at reducing greenhouse gases that would “clobber the economy.”