Environmentalists say emissions promise 'embarrassing'

FEDERAL Member for Page Kevin Hogan is satisfied the new federal emissions reduction target is enough, but Clarence Valley environmental advocates think it might be too little, too late.

On Tuesday, the Coalition government confirmed a carbon emissions reduction target of at least 26% by 2030, which it plans to achieve through a combination of 'direct action', along with organic improvements in battery storage and energy efficiency.

That target could increase to a 28 % reduction of 2005 levels depending on economic impact.

Mr Hogan welcomed the new target, noting it was in line with other comparable countries such as the USA and Canada.

"The target means carbon emissions for every Australian will be halved over the next 15 years," he said.

"That is an impressive statistic and I think it's important we matched comparable countries.

"(Environment Minister Greg Hunt) also made the point that we have always met what we commit to.

"We've got to do our bit and the fact we are in the pack now means we're doing our bit."

Mr Hogan added there would be a massive investment in the renewable energy industry in coming years, following the signing of an agreement with Labor to lift the country's renewable energy target from 20 to 23% of total energy needs by 2020.

But Clarence Valley and Gasfield Free Northern Rivers spokeswoman Lynette Eggins said she didn't think the agreements went far enough, saying the Abbott Government was still pandering to big coal businesses.

"I think we need to stop all donations to political parties from mining companies otherwise it's never going to change," she said.

"This target is just too little, too late. Per capita we are one of the biggest polluters in the world and more action needs to be taken."

Ms Eggins said Australia's reliance on the coal industry could not be sustained especially considering countries like India, which traditionally buy coal from Australia, are working on their own emissions reductions targets.

"He wants to ruin our country to provide coal for a country that's moving to renewable energy," she said.

"You haven't got to be a rocket scientist to realise it doesn't add up."

The solution, she said, was more investment into renewable development.

"How can they say a wind farm is unattractive and a horrible thing to look at. Have they actually looked at an open cut coal mine?"

Former Greens candidate for Clarence Janet Cavanaugh called the target "quite embarrassing".

"As one of the largest per capita emitters we should be shouldering more of the responsibility in reducing global emissions," she said.

"Scientists are telling us we need to reduce emissions by 60-80% and I'm sure it is possible but it takes a mindset that doesn't give the coal industry undue recognition as an irreplaceable part of our economy where in fact it is replaceable with smarter alternatives."



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