PM hits out at Dutton’s ‘extraordinary abandonment’ of climate target

PM hits out at Dutton’s ‘extraordinary abandonment’ of climate target

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has accused Peter Dutton of an “extraordinary abandonment” of Australia’s climate credentials after the opposition leader refused to release his party’s 2030 emissions targets until after the federal election.

Dutton announced on Sunday that the Coalition would ditch the government’s legislated 43 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030 if it takes office next year.

Today, Albanese described the decision as “a rather extraordinary abandonment of any pretence of having a climate policy” that he said would harm Australia’s relationships with key allies.

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“His nuclear fantasy will result in higher power prices and more unstable energy grid and rising emissions,” the prime minister said.

“No 2030 target means walking out of the Paris Agreement. That is very clear. And if you walk out of the Paris Agreement, you’re left standing with Libya, Yemen, and Iran. That is not the company that Australia should want to keep.

“We know that the consequences of that for our relationships in our region and around the world with our closest allies will be ones that are regrettable, to say the least.”

Earlier today, Dutton ruled out providing any detail on what goal a Liberal-National government would pursue instead of the 43 per cent cut.

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“We’ll make those decisions when we are in government … we’ll look at the prevailing economic conditions after the next election, and we’ll make an announcement in due course,” the opposition leader said.

To support its policy, the opposition has claimed the government will fall short of its own emissions target.

The latest update, released in December, had Australia on track for a 42 per cent emissions drop – one per cent shy of the legislated target.

However, that forecast did not include a raft of new measures announced this year, including the Future Made in Australia initiatives that were in the federal budget, and Albanese said they mean the country is “very much on track” to meet the 2030 goal.

The Coalition’s promise to walk away from that target has set up the potential for another election where climate action is a primary issue, something Albanese said voters did not want after 2022’s poll.

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“Australians … know climate change is real,” he said.

“They have experienced it with bushfires, with floods, with increased numbers of, and intensity of, extreme weather events, which is what the science told us would happen here and around the world.”

The Liberal Party lost a raft of seats it has traditionally held to mainly independent and some Labor candidates at the 2022 election, a trend that was largely put down to differing climate policies.

Dutton brushed off concerns his policy would help those MPs retain their seats. 

“Do I think that they’re in touch with average families who are struggling to pay their power bills at the moment? No, I don’t,” he said.

The federal election is due to be held by next May.

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