Opinion divided over carbon targets

By Adam Coleman

The Australian Government’s emissions reduction target announcement yesterday has been met with support from the business community and widespread disdain from green groups and environmentalists over targets they see as unambitious.

At a press conference in Canberra, the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd announced that by the end of 2020, Australia will reduce Australia’s carbon pollution by between 5 per cent and 15 per cent below 2000 levels.

The Australian Greens were particularly scathing in their remarks about the targets.

"Prime Minister Rudd’s five per cent target is a global embarrassment and a recipe for global catastrophe," Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said.

"Scientists agree that developed countries need to reduce their emissions by between 25 and 40 per cent by 2020 to avoid catastrophic climate change. Australia’s high per capita emissions and our relatively cheap emissions reduction potential means we need to be at the top of that range, not doing less than everyone else," he said.

Business Council of Australia (BCA), president Greig Gailey defended the targets suggesting "the reality is that the 10 per cent target range of –5 per cent to –15 per cent is a reduction of between 25 per cent and 34 per cent on a per capita basis and, as such, is more aggressive than those proposed by other developed nations".

"Global warming is a global problem, which can only be solved by concerted global action. Australia can not go it alone. This will neither reduce global emissions nor ensure Australia’s ongoing economic and environmental prosperity. Australia’s actions must be calibrated to those of other competitor nations and technology developments."

The White Paper outlining the blueprint for the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is available here.


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