Updated with quotes from Environment Minister Greg Hunt.
Australia will not announce its post-2020 target until August, when it has been approved by the Coalition party room, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday.
The announcement had been expected in July, most likely late this week, but Abbott told reporters on Monday that Coalition MPs would have to sign off on the target first, and they won’t meet again until parliament’s next sitting in August.
Australia’s target, expected to be set somewhere close the targets of either the United States or Canada, will be strong and credible, the prime minister said, and not like other nation’s pledges, which Abbott dubbed “all these airy-fairy promises that never come to anything”, according to the Guardian.
But asked by reporters later in the day, Environment Minister Greg Hunt was less clear about when the target would be announced.
“Look, we’re currently going through that. It will be in the coming weeks. We’re actually ahead of where I had hoped to be, we’re in a remarkably strong position,” he said.
“We will have a strong and I think more ambitious target than others would have previously expected so I couldn’t be more pleased and more delighted.”
The statement came as the Climate Council released a report saying Australia needs to aim for a 40-60% cut in emissions below 2000 levels by 2030 if it is to keep track with action taken by its major trade partners.
It also came a day after Fairfax Media revealed the government had ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to stop funding wind and small-scale solar power projects.
Wind has so far made up about a fifth of the investments made by the A$10 billion ($7.44 bln) agency, which was set up by the former Labor government to fund clean energy projects.
The government wants to close the agency down despite its 7% return on investments in 2013-2014, but attempts to do so have been blocked by the Senate.
Industry representatives considered the move an attack on wind farms, which Abbott recently described as “visually awful”. Last month the government decided to establish a wind farm commissioner to look into complaints about so called “wind turbine syndrome”, even though all scientific research into the issue suggest the syndrome does not exist.
By Stian Reklev – email@example.com