Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott promises to 'take a very strong and credible position to Paris' for reduction in Australian carbon emissions, 13 July 2015. Australia's emissions are the highest per capita of any country in the developed world. Photo: Fairfax Media

By Lisa Cox
13 July 2015

(Sydney Morning Herald) – The Abbott government does not get enough credit for its emissions reduction policies, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said, as he revealed Australia will not announce post-2020 climate targets until August.

Mr Abbott told a media conference on Monday that targets Australia will take to a global climate summit in Paris at the end of the year will not be made public until after a cabinet meeting at the beginning of August.

But he said the difference between Australia and the rest of the world was that "when we make commitments to reduce emissions we keep them".

"Other countries make all these airy-fairy promises that never come to anything," Mr Abbott said.

Australia is the only developed country that has given no indication of what level of emissions reductions it is prepared to take on.

The government has previously said it would reveal Australia's targets in July, and an announcement was widely expected this week to coincide with the Major Economies Forum in the United States.

Mr Abbott was asked about Australia's likely target after New Zealand revealed its target of 30 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 – a figure condemned by climate experts as not ambitious enough to avoid the globally agreed 2 degrees of warming.

"I'm not going to speculate in advance of a decision by the cabinet and the party room," he said.

"We flagged that we would finalise our position about the middle of the year and we've got a party room meeting coming up at the beginning of August.

"I'm not going to flag any final position in advance of due process and proper consideration."

But he gave an assurance the figure reached by the government would be a "strong" one.

"We'll take a very strong and credible position to Paris," Mr Abbott said.

"This government doesn't get enough credit, Australia doesn't get enough credit, for the emissions reduction work that we have already done.

"We don't get enough credit for the environmental protection that has already been achieved and, while I'm on the subject, let me again congratulate [Environment Minister] Greg Hunt for his work in getting the Great Barrier Reef taken off the World Heritage Commission endangered list."

Australia's emissions are the highest per capita of any country in the developed world. [more]

Other countries 'airy-fairy' on climate change, says Tony Abbott, as Australia delays new emissions target announcement



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