Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Scientists call for stronger e-targets

Two Australian scientists on the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have welcomed the Federal Government's move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but say it does not go far enough.

They say the Government needs stronger targets if it wants to prevent global temperatures rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius.

The Government has declared it will reduce carbon pollution by 5 per cent by 2020 and by 15 per cent if there is an international agreement.

IPCC lead author Professor Andy Pitman has [said] it is a good start, but it does not go far enough.

"The science is uncertain, but it's uncertain in the range of 25 to 50 per cent, not 5 per cent or 10 per cent or 15 per cent," he said.

"It needs to be much deeper than that if we want to avoid dangerous, anthropogenic climate change."

Greens want Senate enquiry on emissions

The Government will introduce legislation for the scheme, which is due to begin in July 2010, early next year, and needs the support of either the Coalition or the Greens and independent senators to pass the laws.

The Greens have condemned the 5 per cent emissions reduction target as inadequate, saying they want a minimum target of 25 per cent.

"The Greens are open and listening to the public and the experts on this," Senator Brown [said.]

"We'll see what the legislation brings to the Parliament and the consequence of the Senate inquiry, and we'll make a very strong judgement based on that."

Senator Brown also described the Government's figures on per capita reduction emissions as a "fudge".

He dismissed the Government's argument that its per capita emissions target matches the European Union's target of 20 per cent cuts.

"The agreement the whole world has come to has to be measured on national output," he said.

"What has to be measured here is where every country is going in terms of increasing or decreasing emissions."

But Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says the Greens position leaves no room for negotiation.

"The Greens have a target of carbon neutrality - that is no net emissions by Australia at the latest by 2050 - but I don't believe they have a real plan to get there," she [said.]

"It seems Senator Brown is in a position which makes makes it very difficult for the Government to negotiate with him."

Senator Wong has also defended the Government's target based on the reduction of emissions per head of population.

"Between 1990 and 2020, [a 15 per cent target] represents a 41 per cent reduction in carbon emissions for every man, woman, and child in Australia over that time," she said.

"That gives you some sense of the scale of that challenge and the scale of that task and that's why we've put in place a comprehensive scheme."

The Opposition will not reveal its position on the scheme until it completes an independent review into yesterday's white paper.


Wong announces $1.4b climate change fund
"This is about the Government delivering on its commitment to ensure that the monies raised from the scheme are invested back into Australian businesses and Australian households to enable everyone to make the transition to a low-pollution future," she said.

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