Australia Ratification Status

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Possibility of Ratification by 2018: Medium

Australia signed the Paris Agreement on April 22nd, 2016, but has yet to ratify the agreement.

Entering into treaties in an executive power in Australia, and final decisions about and ratification of treaties requires the approval of the House of Representatives and the Senate. But there is debate over whether the Paris agreement is a treaty or falls into another category of international agreement that requires a different ratification process.

Some Australians fear that entering into a treaty comes with a loss of sovereignty and will make the country subject to the decisions of an international body. Conservative government officials also worry that increased environmental regulation will limit economic growth and harm Australian Business.

Currently Australia has a Coalition Government led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of the Liberal Party, the party with the largest number of seats in the House of Representatives. The National Party is a partner in the Coalition. The center-left Labor Party has the second largest number of seats. So it looks like the elections results are in and the liberal party coalition has maintained control of the government.

The coalition government structure poses a major problem for Australia in ratifying the Paris Agreement. In order to ratify the Agreement the government will need to put in place the policies and plans that are needed to help Australia reach its pledged greenhouse gas emission targets. However there is no clear agreement among coalition partners as to which policies the country should follow. For example the Labor Party favors policies that will put a price on carbon which the Liberal Party opposes. The Minority Green Australia has not outlined a definitive timeline for ratification of the Paris Agreement.

Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Hannah Campi

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