Friday, September 19, 2008

PM's tougher targets impress Climate Institute

ABC News Online, Posted Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:47pm AEST 

Updated Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:12pm AEST

The Climate Institute says it is encouraged by the Prime Minister's reference to a tougher target for carbon emissions cuts.

Kevin Rudd was explaining the benefits of clean coal technology during a meeting with the coal industry today when he said the necessary stabilising point to tackle climate change is an emissions level of 450 parts per million by 2050.

The Federal Government's climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, says 550 parts per million is a more likely achievement.

But the Climate Institute's chief executive, John Connors, says he took heart from Mr Rudd's comments.

"It's very important that he was on record saying that 450 parts per million was necessary," he said.

"That's certainly in light of the controversy post-Garnaut, who seemed to think only 550 parts per million was achievable that the PM was clear today."

Proposed research centre

Meanwhile, the Federal Opposition has warned a new international clean coal research centre in Australia must focus on the country's domestic needs.

Mr Rudd today announced plans for the new body, which will act as a global centre to drive clean coal technologies in Australia and worldwide.

The Carbon Capture and Storage Institute is due to open next year and Mr Rudd will pitch his plan to the United Nations General Assembly when he visits New York next week.

The Opposition's resources spokesman, David Johnston, has welcomed the investment but says the priority has to be practical solutions for Australia.

"I get the impression this institute is about promoting things on the global stage and what I've said is it's all very well to be telling others what their responsibility should be," he said.

"We need to focus here in Australia because an emissions trading scheme is going to increase electricity tariffs and bills into households in this country by a substantial percentage."

Earlier, Mr Rudd said investment into technology which enables the capture and storage of carbon dioxide was a core pillar of the Government's pollution reduction strategy.

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