Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rudd unconcerned by Garnaut report criticism

ABC News Online, Posted Tue Sep 9, 2008 5:48pm AEST 

Updated Tue Sep 9, 2008 7:26pm AEST

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says he is not surprised by criticism of Ross Garnaut's proposed emissions reduction targets.

Two Australian scientists who sit on the UN's climate change panel have attacked Professor Garnaut's view that Australia should cut emissions by 10 per cent by 2020.

They argue that target is weak and will not minimise dangerous climate change.

Mr Rudd says there is always going to be "argy bargy" in the political debate.

"It's going to be tough, it's going to be controversial, some people will say we've done too much, others will say we've done enough," he said.

"My experience is not all scientists agree and you can have people who have different views, and can I say this about Professor Garnaut's report as well.

"His is an independent report. What he's contributing to is the national debate."

Earlier, Professor David Karoly from Melbourne University said Professor Garnaut's proposed emissions cuts of 10 per cent by 2020 was not enough to minimise the dangerous effects of climate change on Australia and the rest of the world.

"The longer we wait to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will be in the atmosphere, the more climate change we will experience," he told ABC Radio's AM program.

"Australia needs to have substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and they need to be cut urgently if we wish to minimise dangerous climate change."

Professor Karoly said Professor Garnaut's approach to cutting Australia's emissions is too conservative and sends the wrong message to the rest of the world about Australia's intentions on climate change.

Last week Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said the Government would consider Professor Garnaut's recommendations.

But the Government will not confirm what the 2020 emissions target will be until it releases more Treasury modelling later in the year.

Meanwhile Heather Ridout from the Australian Industry Group has sprung to the defence of Professor Garnaut, whose target she says cannot be criticised for a lack of ambition.

"The targets are not that low," she told ABC Radio's PM program.

"To have a 5 per cent target by 2020 would mean that we'll have to cut our emissions from what they otherwise would have been by between 20 and 25 per cent.

"That means one in four of our emissions will have to disappear. So, big impacts, big ask."

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