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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ratifies Paris climate change deal


AUSTRALIA has locked in its support for the Paris agreements as Donald Trump’s election puts global efforts on climate change under threat.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Thursday announced the federal government had ratified the agreement, which commits countries to work towards limiting global warming to two degrees and set five-yearly targets for cutting emissions.

“Almost a year from the Paris conference, it is clear the agreement was a watershed, a turning point and the adoption of a comprehensive strategy has galvanised the international community and spurred on global action,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Mr Turnbull said Australia was on track to meet and “indeed beat” its 2020 reduction targets.

Climate and energy policies would be reviewed next year to ensure the 2030 targets were also met.

It comes after Donald Trump’s election to the US presidency on Wednesday put global action on climate change under threat.

Mr Trump has said he would withdraw America from the Paris agreement, which came into force earlier this month, and stop spending on UN climate change programs.

However, under the agreement’s terms no country can back out until November 2020 at the earliest.

Even if America does pull out, Australia won’t follow.

“When Australia makes a commitment to a global agreement, we follow through and that is exactly what we are doing,” Mr Turnbull said

Earlier, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told Sky News it was too early to tell what Mr Trump’s position on climate change would be once in office.

“It may well be the targets that the United States has set are targets that will remain,” she said.

Ms Bishop and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg will next week join the United Nations climate change talks, which are now underway in Marrakech.

Representatives from the Obama administration, which has already ratified the agreement, will also attend.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific said the ratification was an important first step but the country has to “make a huge climate U-turn” to live up to its promises.

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