Liberal leader Peter Dutton to change Australia’s 2030 climate target

Energy Minister Chris Bowen says Peter Dutton’s pledge to reduce Australia’s 2030 climate emissions target would be a “wrecking ball” for the country’s relationships with key foreign partners.

The Opposition Leader has said that if he wins the next federal election, he will abandon Labour’s statutory target of a 43 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 and focus on nuclear power to achieve net zero by 2050.

The decision would put Australia at odds with its legally binding targets under the 2015 Paris Agreement, where almost 200 countries committed to their plans to reduce global-warming emissions.

Mr Bowen said a weakened climate emissions target could put the country out of step with Pacific island nations and a significant part of the international community.

“I won’t speak for the Pacific leaders, but if Australia were to leave the Paris agreement, I think the Pacific would have very, very strong positions indeed,” he told reporters.

“It’s not just about the Pacific. You look at what’s happening in our region, you look at Australia’s partnerships with the United States, and climate and energy is the third pillar of our alliance. Look at what we are doing with Germany on green hydrogen.

“Peter Dutton would be a destroyer, a risky destroyer when it comes to our foreign policy.”

Under the Paris Agreement, countries excluding Iran, Libya and Yemen pledged to limit the rise in Earth’s average global temperature to “well below” 2 degrees and aim to stay within 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Scientists have warned that the risk of flash floods, fires, droughts and heat waves could become unmanageable if global temperatures rise above this level.

When elected in 2022, Labor leader Anthony Albanese included in the law a target to reduce emissions by 43 per cent by 2030, up from the previous coalition government’s 26-28 per cent.

In an interview with the Weekend Australian on Saturday, Mr Dutton claimed there was “no point” in signing off on a target he claimed was unattainable.

Despite current forecasts showing Australia has missed the 43 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, Mr Bowen insisted it was still achievable.

He said the Cabinet would consider the Climate Change Authority’s advice on the upcoming 2035 emissions target under the Paris Agreement “in due course”.

“We have to bring in our NDC by February. We will definitely take this into account,” he said.

The state governments of NSW, Victoria and Queensland have already set a target of at least 70 per cent by 2035.

Opposition spokesman David Coleman said on Sunday the party would reveal its alternative to the federal government’s 2030 climate target in due course.

“We are committed to the Paris Agreement and committed to net zero by 2050 and will have more on targets well before the election,” he said.

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