Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says the Rudd government\’s lowest proposed pollution reduction target figure of five per cent would still be significant.
The Labor government on Monday broke an election pledge, pushing its emissions trading scheme back a year to July 2011, because of the global financial crisis.
But the government has pushed its emissions reduction target up to 25 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020 – up from a maximum of 15 per cent – depending on the strength of an international agreement. However, the bottom end of the target range is still five per cent, which Senator Wong defends.
“Let\’s get the facts on the table. The unconditional commitment is to a reduction of five per cent and that\’s of 2000 levels which is still a significant reduction,” Senator Wong told ABC Television.
The Australian government is prepared to increase its emissions target to 25 per cent if major emitters agree to an ambitious target at Copenhagen in December.
“What we are saying is if the rest of the world moves, we\’re prepared to go up to 15 per cent and if the world is prepared to go for a very ambitious agreement, that will enable us to stabilise at 450 parts per million … then we would be prepared to go to 25 per cent but that is only if the rest of the world moves,” Senator Wong said.
“And that is because we do want to provide momentum for the negotiations to secure the agreement that is in Australia\’s national interest.”
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Senator Wong have cautioned the 25 per cent target was “highly conditional” on the UN summit agreeing to stabilise carbon dioxide levels to the equivalent in the atmosphere to 450 parts per million or less by 2050.