Prime minister Tony Abbott has confirmed a significant reduction in Australia’s carbon emissions reduction targets.
The new goal is 26-28% in emissions reductions by 2030, down from the previous 30%.
Abbott said the move was part of the government’s objective to put jobs and growth first, saying “climate change policy is no different”.
“The target builds on Australia’s excellent record. We met and beat our first Kyoto target and expect to do the same in 2020 through the Government’s Direct Action plan,” he said.
“We are committed to tackling climate change without a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme that will hike up power bills for families, pensioners and businesses.”
Australia’s emissions per person will decline by at least 50 per cent between 2005 and 2030, while emissions per unit of GDP will fall by 64%.
He said that the cost of reaching this target would be around 0.2% of GDP.
Abbott said while the target for 2030 was between 26 to 28%, he said “we think we can go to 28%”, adding that is wasn’t as high as Europe but better than Japan, Korean and China, which would actually increase.
“It’s a good solid result”, he said, adding that the ongoing cost of reducing the emissions will be approximately $200 million a year, a cost which would be achieved without accessing international units.
“We’re not leading but we’re certainly not lagging,” Abbott said.
Foreign minister Julie Bishop, speaking with Abbott in Canberra, said it was ambitious and comparable with other countries.
“Our target range means that we will take to Paris a strong and credible… position,” she said.
“It means Australia…. as the 13th largest emitter is doing our bit, and that’s what matters.
“We’re on track to meet 2020 target.”
The Government will review Australia’s emissions reduction policies in detail in 2017-18, in close consultation with businesses and the community.
Bishop is reported to have fought for maintaining the 30% target at a Cabinet meeting last night where the revision to the goal was discussed.