Peter Dutton won’t reveal emissions targets before the next election as new front opens up in climate wars

Dan Jervis-Bardy
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Liberal leader Peter Dutton said the Opposition remained committed to reaching net zero by 2050 but did not want to harm households and businesses. 
Liberal leader Peter Dutton said the Opposition remained committed to reaching net zero by 2050 but did not want to harm households and businesses.  Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

The federal Opposition will not take a 2030 or 2035 emissions reduction target to the next election, leader Peter Dutton has revealed, as he accuses Labor of pursuing a climate policy that will destroy the economy and bankrupt families.

Mr Dutton said the Opposition remained committed to reaching net zero by 2050 but did not want to harm households and businesses along the way.

He confirmed the Coalition would not announce interim targets ahead of the next federal election, due next May, declaring “we’ll make those decisions when we are in Government”.

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The Liberal leader on Tuesday hardened his opposition to the Federal Government’s 43 per cent 2030 target, doubling down on comments from a weekend interview in which he argued it was pointless to sign up to the goal because Labor had “no hope” of achieving it.

The agreement requires countries to submit new, more ambitious targets every five years.

Mr Dutton on Tuesday rubbished suggestions his stance would amount to a breach of the Paris agreement.

“We’re not going to do things that hurt Australians,” he said.

“The Labor party can try and please people in Paris. My job is to take care of the Australian people.

“We’ll look at the prevailing economic conditions after the next election and we’ll make announcements in due course,”.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese blasted Mr Dutton’s position for the second day running, insisting it would mean abandoning the Paris Agreement.

“Peter Dutton is divisive, the Coalition are divided and there’s no detail about what they would pursue,” Mr Albanese said.

The announcement marks a shift for Mr Dutton, who soon after seizing the Liberal leadership gave colleagues the impression he was prepared to adopt a more ambitious 2030 target than the 26-28 per cent goal Scott Morrison took to the 2022 election.

Speaking earlier on Tuesday, Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen was confident the 43 per cent target could be reached.

The latest Climate Change Authority forecast put Australia on track to cut emissions 42 per cent by 2030 - but that projection was made before the announcement of various measures to cut pollution, including the capacity investment scheme and new vehicle efficiency standards.

The Government is required to submit its 2035 emissions reduction target next February, right on the eve of the election.

The authority has suggested a target of between 65 and 75 per cent would be ambitious but achievable, although its won’t present its formal advice to Mr Bowen until later this year.

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