Prime Minister Tony Abbott is letting New York know he wants more investment, but won’t be more ambitious on carbon emissions cuts.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he’s ambitious for Australian jobs but won’t be more ambitious when it comes to tackling climate change.
Mr Abbott has spent the day in New York talking up trade and investment with business executives.
He began his day at the National September 11 Memorial, laying a wreath at a tree which was replanted after being found in the ruins of the World Trade Centre towers.
The prime minister solemnly walked around each of the 10 plaques representing the Australians who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Signalling his “open for business” message, he rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange before holding meetings with current and potential investors, some of whom are expected to put their money into new road and port projects to be rolled out in Australia.
Mr Abbott met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations headquarters where they discussed security issues and the G20 as well as climate change.
A summit will be held in September as a step towards a new global climate agreement to be reached in 2015 through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The summit is not part of the actual negotiating process, but the UN chief wants to reinvigorate the climate debate as more ambitious global action stalls.
Mr Abbott told reporters his government supported “strong action” on climate change and was investing $2.5 billion on emission cuts.
But he would not be modifying the government’s plan.
“It’s very important that every country take strong action to limit the rate of growth of emissions,” he said.
“We know in Australia what we are going to do – we are going to get our emissions down by five per cent by 2020.
“We will be a good global citizen, but what we are not going to do is clobber our economy.”
Mr Ban confirmed he would attend the G20 leaders’ summit in Brisbane in November.
Mr Abbott also addressed a business lunch in which he argued the Asian century could exist alongside the American century.
“A rich China doesn’t mean a billion competitors so much as a billion new customers,” Mr Abbott said.
“Asia needs America involved. Asia needs America to succeed.”
The prime minister will hold some private functions on Tuesday night (New York time).
On Wednesday he will attend a high-powered breakfast at the Council on Foreign Relations attended by senior corporate figures and former US Treasury secretary Robert Rubin.
He will then visit a technical school in Brooklyn before heading to Washington for meetings with US congressional leaders including speaker John Boehner, house minority leader Nancy Pelosi, house majority leader Eric Cantor and senate majority leader Harry Reid.
He is scheduled to meet with US President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday.