Australia has announced targets for reducing carbon emissions over the next 15 years. But opposition politicians and environmentalists have lashed out at the cuts, saying they lag behind the world.
Australian conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Tuesday that Australia – one of the world’s highest carbon emitters per capita – planned to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, marking one of the lowest targets set by an industrialized nation ahead of the UN climate conference.
“We have got to be environmentally responsible, but we’ve got to be economically responsible, too. We’ve got to reduce our emissions but we’ve got to reduce our emissions in way which is consistent with continued strong growth,” Abbott told reporters in the Australian capital Canberra.
“This is fairly and squarely in the middle of comparable economies,” said Abbott.
Opposition politicians and environmentalists were quick to criticize the targets released on Tuesday, noting that Abbott chose 2005 instead of 2000 as a benchmark since it was a historically high year for emissions.
The opposition Labor Party’s environmental spokesperson, Mark Butler, decried the targets, saying they significantly lagged behind the rest of the world.
“Countries to which we often compare ourselves – like the US and the United Kingdom, Germany, countries like that – all have targets in an equivalent timeframe into the 40 percent range, so 41 percent for America, 48 percent of the UK, mid-40s for Germany,” Butler told ABC radio, according to DPA news agency.
Abbott’s announcement comes a month after the Climate Change Authority – the government’s independent expert body – recommended a target of 40 to 60 percent from 2000 levels by 2030.
ls/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)