Barnaby Joyce
Barnaby Joyce, a member of the Australia Federal Senate, talks during an interview in Canberra December 2, 2005. Reuters/Tim Wimborne

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has announced that Australia will not follow United States’ lead on renewable energy policies. The development comes after calls were made to repeal the renewable energy target if US President Donald Trump steps away from the Paris climate change agreement.

At the G20 meeting of Agriculture ministers in Berlin, Germany, Joyce described Australia’s renewable energy targets as “reasonable” and “achievable.” He said Australia sticks to the agreements it commits to.

“We are not the United States of Australia, we are just Australia,” Joyce said, speaking with ABC radio. “The United States will look after their business and we’ll look after ours.” He added, “We have to have a commitment that doesn’t put undue pressure on our own power prices and our capacity to deliver affordable electricity Australian households.”

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott is urging the government to scrap its renewable energy target. In 2014, when Abbott cut the target while in office, a decline of as much as 88 percent was witnessed in the renewable energy investment. According to experts, letting go of a target could increase pressure on prices.

As reported by AAP (via Sky News), a number of coalition MPs have expressed support for Australia to follow US’ lead and bow out of the Paris climate change agreement. They said it was futile for Australia to continue its efforts towards achieving renewable energy targets if the United States left the Paris agreement.

Joyce has emphasised that Australia will be maintaining the climate plan. “ We don't sign agreements to pull out of them,” he said. “We go into them, we negotiate with the belief that if you sign a piece of paper you should be sticking to it.”

Liberal MP Julian Leeser said he supported the current renewable energy target, but added that “if evidence is presented that we should reduce that target, well then we should look at reducing or increasing that target as the case may be.” He noted that Australia is committed to a renewable energy target of 23 percent.