Opposition pushes back against reports of weak Australian climate target

Published 12:46 on July 14, 2015  /  Last updated at 17:02 on July 15, 2015  /  Asia Pacific, Australia  /  No Comments

The opposition Labor and Greens parties on Tuesday railed against media reports that Australia is considering a 2030 target to cut GHG emissions to 15-25% below 2005, a level barely beyond its 2020 goal.

The opposition Labor and Greens parties on Tuesday railed against media reports that Australia is considering a 2030 target to cut GHG emissions to 15-25% below 2005, a level barely beyond its 2020 goal.

The Australian newspaper on Tuesday reported that the Cabinet is currently considering a climate target to reduce GHG emissions 15-25% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Australia’s 2020 goal is a 13% reduction from 2005.

“A target like that would be one of the weakest pledges made for the Paris climate conference so far, putting Australia right at the back of the pack internationally. Australia would either be seen as a global free-rider, or our weak targets would hijack strong global action,” said Greens Senator Larissa Waters.

Bill Shorten, the Labor party leader, was also unimpressed, and warned Prime Minister Tony Abbott that a climate target along those lines might not win bipartisan support.

“There’s no doubt that it’s important to have emissions reduction targets being bipartisan, but it is also important therefore that Mr Abbott doesn’t force Australia into the path of lowest common denominator,” he told reporters, according to The Guardian.

The government was expected to announce its post-2020 target this week, but the prime minister said on Monday a final decision would not be made until the ruling Liberal party MPs meet next month.

Australia is the biggest per-capita emitter in the developed world and even more reliant on coal for electricity generation than China.

But while some members of Cabinet are arguing for a tougher climate target, they are facing internal resistance from party strongholds that still question whether climate change is real.

By Stian Reklev – stian@carbon-pulse.com

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