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CLIMATE SCIENCE
Al Gore joins Australian mining tycoon in climate change plan
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) June 25, 2014


No further action on climate change could cost billions, EU says
Brussels (UPI) Jun 25, 2013 - Climate damage to the European Union could cost more than $200 billion if no further action is taken, a European analysis published Wednesday finds.

A Wednesday report for the European Commission's Joint Research Center finds that if global temperatures increase as expected, the economic costs could amount to a net welfare loss of 1.8 percent of the current gross domestic product for the European Union.

Beyond the economic impact, the report finds heat-related deaths could increase and those people living in low-lying coastal areas would suffer if sea levels rise.

European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard said it makes more sense to invest now in efforts to address climate change than to pay for future damages.

"No action is clearly the most expensive solution of all," she said in a statement.

Members of the EU are obligated to cut emissions by 20 percent from the 1990's level by 2020. EU leaders are set to review an energy package that sets benchmarks for 2030 in October.

Former US vice president Al Gore Wednesday hailed recent moves by the United States and other nations to confront climate change as "extraordinary", and encouraged Australia to join global efforts.

The high-profile environmental activist described as "significant" a plan by Australian mining magnate and politician Clive Palmer to push for the introduction of an emissions trading scheme in return for helping dismantle the country's contentious carbon tax.

Gore, who is in Australia as part of an environmental training programme, praised the "extraordinary moment in which Australia, the United States and the rest of the world is finally beginning to confront the climate crisis in a meaningful way".

He said he believed that pricing carbon was "ultimately to be critical to solving the climate crisis".

"I am extremely hopeful that Australia continues to play a global leadership role on this most pressing issue," Gore added.

Palmer -- famous for his plans to build a full-scale replica of the Titanic -- leads of one of several smaller political parties with which the government must work to pass legislation to scrap the carbon tax.

The conservative administration, led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, made abolishing the tax one of its key election promises.

Palmer said his Palmer United Party would support the tax's removal if it was replaced by an emissions trading scheme with a starting carbon price of zero.

He said his scheme would only begin once Australia's major economic partners established similar programmes.

"Australia acting alone cannot change the world, and change the world we must, not just for ourselves but for our children, not just for them but for all the children in the world, not just for our time but for all time," Palmer said at a joint press conference with Gore.

"Climate change is a global problem and it must have a global solution."

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said later an emissions trading scheme was "not our policy" but his government had not yet seen Palmer's suggested amendments to the legislation.

The government proposes to replace the tax with a plan which includes incentives for companies to increase energy efficiency.

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