Australia pledges `no more, no less` on climate

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 11:29

Sydney: Australia will do "no more and no less" than other nations to fight climate change, the government said Tuesday, as it prepared to set its greenhouse gas pollution targets after talks in Copenhagen.

The centre-left Labor government wants to introduce a carbon trading emissions scheme which could reduce the pollution responsible for global warming by up to 25 percent of 2000 levels by 2020.

But following the global summit on climate change in Copenhagen, it will consider the efforts of other countries before setting the level at which carbon emissions will be capped.

"I have said consistently, Australia will do no more and no less than the rest of the world," Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said.

Rudd went to Copenhagen with a proposal of cuts of between five and 25 percent with the upper levels dependent on the agreement reached at the talks in the Danish capital.

But while the non-binding Copenhagen Accord committed to limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), it failed to set targets for greenhouse gas emissions cuts.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said the government had made its target range of proposed cuts clear.

"That is dependent on what the rest of the world is prepared to do and as we work over the coming weeks with other nations who are supporting the Copenhagen Accord, we will be considering very carefully what other nations put forward," she said.

Wong said the Copenhagen conference was a step forward because for the first time it involved developed and developing nations acting together on climate change.

But according to a transcript of Wong`s comments made after the summit, the minister agreed that more could have been gleaned from the talks.

"Of course there`s a lot to do, of course we would have wanted more," the senator told a media conference after the talks concluded.

"But this is a significant step and what is important now is pressing on, implementing this agreement, working with those countries who support action to get a legally binding outcome at the next conference."

Wong said that "extreme views" should not be allowed to derail the process.

"We have to remember that this Copenhagen Accord was negotiated by and supported by the majority of the world`s nations, the majority of the world`s economy," he said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 11:29

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