Climate targets back on course: Bowen

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Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen insists Australia's emissions reduction measures are back on track.


In the first of what will be annual climate change statements, Mr Bowen said emissions reduction projections had increased in the six months since the Albanese government came into office.

Emissions are projected to drop by 40 per cent by 2030.

While the government has adopted an emissions reduction target of 43 per cent by the end of the decade, Mr Bowen said the current estimate was already well above that of the former coalition government.

"The previous government left their projected emissions reductions by 2030 at only 30 per cent," he told parliament on Thursday.

"We've lifted the outlook by a third in just our first six months. Policies we received a mandate for, and are working on implementing, will lift our result to at least 43 per cent."

The statement on climate change delivered each year to parliament was part of the government's recent legislation on emissions reduction, which locked in the 43 per cent target and net-zero emissions by 2050.

Advice from the Climate Change Authority said the country would need a decarbonisation rate of at least 17 million tonnes per year, or an increase of 40 per cent, to meet climate targets.

Mr Bowen said it was imperative to act on reducing emission levels even further, given the levels of natural disasters experienced.

"Australia is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including bushfires and floods, so the stakes are extremely high," he said.

"Not acting would be an unforgivable act of intergenerational negligence."

The statement follows federal budget predictions electricity prices would rise by more than 50 per cent in the next two years, while gas would rise by more than 40 per cent.

Mr Bowen said he would discuss a capacity investment mechanism with state and territory counterparts in coming weeks in a bid to reduce power prices.

"Renewable energy alone won't meet our emission reduction targets. We need a whole of economy response," he said.

"Industrial emitters are projected to overtake electricity generators as Australia's leading source of emissions."

Opposition climate spokesman Ted O'Brien defended the coalition's policies on climate change.

"As a nation, we smashed our Kyoto emissions targets and we ensured Australia was well on track to exceed its commitments under the Paris agreement," he said of the previous government.

"It was also the coalition, of course, which first took the responsible action to partner with Australia's neighbours, in particular on climate change mitigation."

Greens leader Adam Bandt said there was little in the government's speech on phasing out coal and gas projects.

"The government is actually predicting pollution from coal and gas will go up. This is what happens when you don't have a policy to rein in coal and gas and you only focus on renewables," he said

"It beggars belief the government is proud of emissions projections that show pollution from coal and gas going up. You can't fix a problem while making the problem worse."

Greenpeace Australia Pacific head of advocacy Glenn Walker urged the government to do more to rule out new fossil fuel initiatives.

"The Albanese government has made a decent start, but far more radical and urgent action is needed to turn the climate crisis around," he said.

"Having been elected on a mandate to do so, the government cannot now deal in half measures to achieve an inadequate target."

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