AUSTRALIA, August 11, China.org.cn -- The Australian government has formally announced its emissions reduction target, signaling a reduction of 26 to 28 percent of carbon emissions by 2030 on the 2005 levels.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott made the announcement on Tuesday, telling the media the government had come up with a "responsible" target that would not harm Australia's resource-driven economy.
"We have come to a position as a government that our 2030 emissions target will be in the range of 26 to 28 percent," he said.
"There is a definite commitment to 26 percent but we believe under the policies that we have got, with the circumstances that we think will apply, that we can go to 28 percent."
"It's a good, solid economically responsible, environmentally responsible target. What we want to do is to protect and promote both (the economy and the environment)."
Abbott was defensive of the target, which received firm backlash from environmental groups and opposition politicians, saying it was "fairly and squarely in the middle of comparable economies."
Abbott said other nations in the Asia Pacific region had addressed the issue comparably to Australia.
"It's not quite as high as the Europeans at 34 percent, but it' s better than the Japanese at 25 percent, it's vastly better than the (South) Koreans at 4 percent."
Meanwhile the United States has pledged a 41 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 while Canada offered a 30 percent reduction, however experts have already labeled that as weak.
Canada has a similar, resource-driven economy to Australia, but Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who is expected to take Australia's target to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Paris in November, said the target was "comparable" to other nations' targets, and would be accepted by the panel.
Bishop said it was an "ambitious target" but one that was " responsible."
"Climate change is a global challenge so to tackle it you need a global agreement," she said.
"We will take to Paris an economically and environmentally responsible position."
Earlier on Tuesday, the opposition slammed the 26 to 28 percent reduction target, with opposition spokesperson Mark Butler saying it would leave Australia at the "back of the pack."
"Countries to which we often compare ourselves - like the United States and the UK, Germany, countries like that - all have targets in an equivalent timeframe into the 40 percent range, so 41 percent for America, 48 percent for the UK, mid-40s for Germany, " he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change begins on Nov. 30 in France, and will conclude on Dec. 11.
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