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Climate Change – more ambition in emissions reduction

Climate Change – more ambition in emissions reduction

Ms SPENDER (Wentworth) (14:48):

My question is for the Minister for Climate Change and Energy.

Minister, many people in my community are concerned about climate change. Climate scientists are telling us we need a 2030 emissions reduction target of at least 50 per cent to prevent catastrophic climate change, and the Business Council of Australia has said that Australian businesses can thrive under a 46 to 50 per cent reduction by 2030. So my question is: what are the scientific or business reasons for the government's 2030 target of 43 per cent? 

Mr BOWEN (McMahon—Minister for Climate Change and Energy) (14:49): I thank the honourable member for her question and for her engagement during her time so far in this place. I will make a number of comments about the government's 43 per cent emissions reduction target. As the Prime Minister has made clear repeatedly, we went to the election with that target and sought a mandate from the Australian people for that target, and we received that mandate. That's important to the Prime Minister. It's important to this side of the House to maintain and honour the commitments that we made at the election.

Secondly, for example, as Professor Mark Howden, Director of the Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions at the ANU and Vice-Chair of the IPCC has said, the 43 per cent emissions reduction target is entirely consistent with the obligations set out at the Glasgow conference last year and entirely consistent with Australia's obligations under the Glasgow conference.

Another point I would make, and this is an important one, is that targets are very important. But even more important than the targets are the policies underpinning them. When we released the 43 per cent emissions reduction target, it was the modelled result of the range of policies we committed to at the same time. Targets are important, but they are easier set than met. It's important to accompany those targets with policies. Whether it is our safeguards reforms, our Rewiring the Nation policy, our electric vehicle tax cut, our electric vehicle strategy - which will give Australians the choice and chance to buy electric vehicles and enjoy the weekend at the same time—our community batteries policy or our solar banks policy, the range of policies is important. We're getting on and implementing them all.

The other thing that is important to get the investment in renewable energy needed to get the targets underway is certainty and policy frameworks being legislated. I thank the member for Wentworth for her public announcement that she will be supporting our legislation in the House because that is important. It sends the message that not only does Australia now have a government that gets it but we have a parliament that gets it too. We will provide that policy certainty and framework for investors right around the world who see Australia as an opportunity for that investment, because we want Australia to be a renewable energy powerhouse. We want Australia to take advantage of those economic opportunities because we see the world's climate emergency, and there is one, as Australia's jobs opportunity.

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