Australian government commits to long term emission reductions

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has reiterated the Government’s commitment to a long term target as Professor Ross Garnaut released his interim report in the lead up to the introduction of an emissions trading scheme. “Garnaut’s report, his interim report and his final report are an enormously valuable contribution to government policy,” said Wong. “In terms of the 60% target, I want to just emphasise that was a target set on the basis of advice and consideration from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change so a scientific advice. It’s also one of the parameters in the Stern report. So we have set a 60% reduction. That is a very substantial reduction by 2050,” Wong added. She also said that one of the key policy matters that the government will have to deal with is the midterm target. “That is, what do we say will be the target pre 2050 in the post, in the second Kyoto period and that target in many ways will be much more significant in terms of getting Australia on to a low emissions trajectory,” said Wong.

Wong also said that a long-term target is important because it gives the signal to the community and to industry about where Australia needs to go. “We’ve also said we will set a mid-term target after we receive Professor Garnaut’s final report, and Treasury modelling and a range of other contributions, because we understand we have to have a mid-term target as well,” she added. Wong also said that the Government will try and reduce emissions at least cost through a market mechanism, which is the emissions trading scheme. “Reducing emissions is a key priority, that’s why we are pressing forward with our emissions trading scheme,” she said.