Australia’s political opposition to dump GHG cut target

  • Market: Emissions
  • 11/06/24

Australia's main political opposition, if elected at next year's national election, will not pursue the current federal Labor government's target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 43pc by 2030.

The Liberal-National coalition said that the 2030 ambition was unable to be met as GHG emissions remained flatlined last year at 29pc below 2005 levels. The policy would be dumped under its future administration, as it was impossible to build the 4.5 GW/yr of projects required to meet Labor's goal of 82pc renewables by 2030.

The coalition has declined to set its own 2030 goal for GHG emissions cuts. Its previous target was 26-28pc by 2030, which it said it was likely to exceed.

"Australia needs a sensible energy policy which delivers cheaper, cleaner and consistent 24/7 electricity, and that's what the coalition will deliver, we won't be pretending Labor's 2030 target is achievable," the opposition's spokesman for climate change and energy Ted O'Brien said on 10 June.

The comments came after opposition leader Peter Dutton promised to cut gas project approval timeframes by half if elected, he said in a speech to the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Melbourne on 8 June. He also pledged a return to annual releases of offshore acreage in federal waters for Western Australia state and the Northern Territory.

Federal energy minister Chris Bowen acknowledged the Labor government had more to do, while pointing to his party's capacity investment scheme and new vehicle efficiency standards as policies that will help meet the 2030 target. He described the coalition's policies as "a clear breach of the Paris Accord" in an interview broadcast on 11 June.

The previous coalition government agreed to reach net zero emissions by 2050 in 2021 and maintains it supports the UN's Paris climate agreement. But with rising power prices and slumping gas supply forecasts the opposition has voiced support for developing a nuclear power industry to reduce emissions from electricity, despite analysis showing it could cost as much as A$387bn ($255bn.

Australia's slowing renewables additions has prompted Victoria and New South Wales state to strike deals to keep ageing coal-fired power stations open for longer, while the Labor federal government has conceded the need for new gas supplies in the transition to more renewables.

The federal government is developing new GHG reduction plans, expected to be announced in the coming weeks, while planning a new 2035 target to become law before the next election around mid-2025.


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18/06/24

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