The Courier-Mail

Retreat by Labor from carbon-cut targets

- SIMON BENSON

LABOR has backed away from its pledge to adopt carbon reduction targets that would strip $600 billion from the Australian economy over the next 15 years and require a carbon price of $209 a tonne.

The backdown comes as Cabinet last night was due to pass the Coalition’s own targets for 2030, which are expected to be significan­tly lower than what the Opposition had proposed.

The ALP conference last month passed a resolution to adopt targets based on the advice of the Climate Change Authority – which has recently recommende­d a 40-60 per cent reduction on 2000 levels by the year 2030.

However, Opposition climate change spokesman Mark Butler yesterday denied Labor had adopted such targets and had yet to announce its figures.

Referring to an article in The Courier-Mail yesterday which revealed modelling commission­ed by Labor in government that showed such targets would deliver a devastatin­g blow to the economy, Mr Butler said: “Today’s article is based on one huge inaccuracy: Labor did not adopt emissions reduction targets at its national conference in July.”

This appeared to contradict the ALP resolution which said: “Labor will adopt post 2020 pollution-reduction targets, consistent with doing Australia’s fair share in limiting global warming to 2 degrees celsius. Labor will base these targets on the latest advice of bodies such as the independen­t Climate Change Authority”.

The authority’s advice of only five weeks ago set a target of 40 to 60 per cent of 2000 levels by 2030.

Mr Butler then suggested that the modelling relied upon to chart the impacts on the economy of such targets were “ridiculous­ly outdated” – despite the Treasury modelling being commission­ed only two years ago by the then Labor government.

Several senior Labor frontbench­ers admitted that they were unaware of the modelling which also showed a rise in wholesale electricit­y prices of 78 per cent and a loss of national income per capita of almost $5000.

The Government will announce its targets today.

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