Australia: Al Gore joining Clive Palmer for his Parliament House press conference

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THERE is a saying that politics makes strange bedfellows as was seen by the latest odd coupling in Canberra this afternoon.

Former US vice president Al Gore, who is a climate change activist, teamed up with mining magnate and newly minted MP Clive Palmer as he announced Palmer United Party members would support a bill to abolish the carbon tax.

But there were conditions attached, with Mr Palmer saying all savings had to be passed on to consumers and he also wanted the Abbott Government to replace its direct action plan with an emissions trading scheme.

However, he said he only wanted the ETS to become active when Australia’s major trading partners also moved to establish an ETS.

PUP senators will not support government legislation abolishing the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Nor will they support any change to the Renewable Energy Target until after the next election.

Mr Palmer said $15 billion was already in the renewable energy investment pipeline.

“It’s not the position that makes a leader. It’s his actions and examples which others can follow,” Mr Palmer said.

“Others that are maybe less capable, like me, can see the light shining out of the darkness.”

Mr Gore was pleased about the discussions he’d had that led to the “extraordinary moment” of Mr Palmer’s announcement.

The supporter of carbon pricing and global action on climate change was in Australia for a Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training Program in Melbourne.

Mr Palmer flew him up to Canberra today for discussions, the press conference and dinner.

After outlining how other countries are moving on climate change, Mr Gore congratulated the Palmer United Party “on this outstanding statement”.

During the press conference Mr Gore said it was significant that Mr Palmer supported the continuation of the emissions reduction target.

He said he was also extremely hopeful that Australia would continue to play a leading global role in fighting climate change.

Following Mr Gore’s statement, Mr Palmer declined to take questions from journalists saying: “We have to go now to an urgent dinner”.

Mr Gore came to international prominence after the release of his Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth in 2006.

He served under President Bill Clinton and has received a Nobel Peace Prize for his work in climate change activism.

SOURCE: Australia, June 24th 2014: