Labor's 2030 Carbon Emission Reduction 'Mad' Policy: Govt

27/11/2015 3:02 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Labor has set a target of a 45 percent reduction in green house gas emissions by 2030, a goal being labeled as "mad" by government frontbenchers.

Labor will use the Climate Change Authority's recommendation of a 45 percent reduction by 2030, based on 2005 levels, as the basis of its consultations with industry unions and the community, opposition leader Bill Shorten said on Friday.

He also pledged to work towards carbon neutrality by 2050.

His announcement comes as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta and the Paris climate change summit, where he is expected to promote Australia's policy to cut emissions by 26 to 28 percent on 2005 levels by 2030.

"Our target will work in concert with our 2050 objective and our strategies for managing transitions within particular sectors," Mr Shorten said.

"If we're to meet the global target of 2 degrees, we must reach a point where we are not adding pollution to the atmosphere. This means by 2050, every tonne of pollution that we produce will need to be rebalanced by sequestering, offsetting or purchasing. This is an ambitious goal."

Mr Shorten pledged a review of his party's long-term climate change goals every five years, and said Labor would also announce an emissions reduction target for 2025 if it wins office.

Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said the target would cause a jump in electricity prices, and labelled it "mad".

"It is a mad policy," Mr Pyne told Channel Nine.

"Bill Shorten's policy, his thought bubble, 45 percent reduction, would require them to introduce or reintroduce a carbon tax at double the rate of the carbon tax before," he said.

"He wants to smash household budgets and smash the economy."

The Climate Institute's John Conner told the ABC the targets are crucial if the goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees is going to be met.

"It's a far stronger and more credible target than the government's current target. It gets us much closer when you combine it with their commitment to end climate pollution by 2050, to Australia's bit in the action needed to avoid 2 degrees which is a bipartisan and internationally agreed goal," he said.

"Perhaps just as importantly, it also gets us much closer to the leading developed countries who are taking action in this record and I think it's very important to remember that we've got leading Central Bankers, we've got other nations of the G7 nations all saying avoiding 2 degrees means getting to zero carbon.

"So it's only going to cost us more the more we delay. So stronger action now is better for Australia."

Turnbull told the ABC's 7.30 Report he is "optimistic" about the chances of a global agreement being reached at next week's climate change talks in Paris.

The government on Thursday said it has met its 2020 greenhouse emissions target, releasing figures from the Department of Environment showing Australia had achieved a 5 per cent reduction based on 2000 levels.

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