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Queensland state LNP backs Labor’s emission cuts of 75% by 2035 drawing ire from federal colleagues
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Queensland state LNP backs Labor’s emission cuts of 75% by 2035 drawing ire from federal colleagues

Queensland’s Liberal National party has backed one of the most ambitious emission reduction targets in Australia – much to the disappointment of some of their federal counterparts.

While the federal opposition is still yet to unveil mid-term climate targets as part of its net zero by 2050 promise, the Nationals leader, David Littleproud, has decisively ruled out joining his state counterparts in their ambitious pledge.

The shadow environment minister, Sam O’Connor, told state parliament on Wednesday the LNP would not oppose the government’s bill to legislate the emissions reduction target of 75% by 2035.

The bill – which is expected to pass this week – will set a 2030 target of 30% below 2005 levels and 75% by 2035. It will then require the minister to set a series of interim targets every five years after 2035 until net zero 2050, a decade in advance.

“I recognise the threat of climate change to our environment,” O’Connor said.

“We must do all we can to become more sustainable so Queenslanders for many generations to come can continue to enjoy the unrivalled natural beauty our state is defined by.

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“Reducing our emissions by 75% to 2035 is ambitious but it is achievable.”

The federal government is due to set a national 2035 target by early next year, Victoria has a 2035 emissions reduction target of 75-80%, New South Wales of 70% and Western Australia has no target as emissions continue to rise.

A second bill, which was debated in cognate, seeks to legislate a renewables target of 80% by 2035.

LNP MP Deb Frecklington said the party supported the renewable energy target but did not agree with legislating it.

“The legislation shackles Queenslanders to blindly higher bills and unreliable supply, handcuffing the state to the decision instead of allowing us to be guided by the aspects that actually impact Queenslanders,” she said.

“The legislation forces Queensland down this river without building the boat first.”

The issue of achieving net zero emission by 2050 is fraught within the federal Coalition with the debate threatening to destabilise the former Morrison government in 2021.

The opposition are again under to pressure to develop an energy policy ahead of the federal election that offers a clear pathway to net zero with a mid-term target while reckoning with internal political disagreements about whether to keep a net zero by 2050 promise.

Littleproud said the plan, which is yet to be released, would include a mix of nuclear, gas and renewables and would keep coal-fired power stations humming until an “orderly” and affordable transition could be achieved.

The timing of that transition and what mid-term target is agreed on are still being worked on but the Maranoa MP ruled out it being anywhere near what Queensland state Labor and LNP are supporting.

“There’s no way in the world we would be looking at 75% by 2035. I cannot see, in any way shape or form, the federal Nationals could support the Queensland LNP in their support of this,” he said.

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Some Queensland politicians in the federal Coalition were at odds with their state party colleagues on the climate target.

Queensland Nationals senator Matt Canavan said “these increasingly absurd promises are like an unfit person who says every day I will start dieting tomorrow.”

Federal Coalition MP Keith Pitt dubbed the Queensland target “unaffordable” and “unachievable”.

Australia’s minister for climate change, Chris Bowen, said the Queensland LNP’s support of the targets was out of step with the federal Coalition’s stance.

“It shows how out of touch with the mainstream Dutton’s deniers have become, when their Queensland counterparts are so vocally backing a plan for reliable renewables as the way of the future.”

Meanwhile, the Queensland Greens flagged they would move amendments to increase emissions reduction targets and set a target of 100% publicly owned energy.

“The Greens are calling for a moratorium on new coal and gas, net zero by 2035, and 100% public ownership of our electricity system,” Greens MP Michael Berkman said.

“Labor has copied some of the Greens’ homework, but they’re still falling short of an A.”

The energy minister, Mick de Brenni, said the bills show the Labor government is “tackling the climate emergency by cutting emissions whilst at the same time delivering sustained economic growth.”

“This groundbreaking reform is for our children who hope for a better and cleaner future,” he said.

“We must transform our electricity system to deliver clean, reliable and affordable power to secure our economy for today and tomorrow.”

Source: theguardian.com