Labor sets 43% emission reduction target, climate policies ahead of the 2022 federal election

Labor leader Anthony Albanese, picture driving an electric car outside Parliament House, is poised to announce Labor's new climate target on Friday. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Labor leader Anthony Albanese, picture driving an electric car outside Parliament House, is poised to announce Labor's new climate target on Friday. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Labor will take a 43 per cent 2030 emissions reduction target to the next election after shadow cabinet ticked off on the plan.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has announced the highly anticipated target with promises to create more than 600,000 jobs and cut power bills for families and businesses after a special meeting of Labor caucus in Canberra on Friday morning.

Labor's new goal exceeds both the Coalition's official 2030 target and the government's projection that emissions will fall 35 per cent by the end of the decade, setting the stage for a major fight on climate change at the looming federal election.

The selection of a new target has been a tightly guarded process within even senior Labor ranks, amid concerns details of the politically contentious policy could leak if shared widely among frontbenchers.

Mr Albanese and his ministers have for weeks fended off questions about Labor's possible 2030 target, as they focused on attacking the Morrison government's climate policies and its performance at the Glasgow climate summit.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a net zero by 2050 commitment ahead of the UN climate summit in Glasgow, after striking a secret deal with the Nationals following weeks of internal unrest.

But Mr Morrison resisted domestic and international pressure to raise the Coalition's Tony Abbott-era target of cutting emissions by 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels, choosing instead to announce the new prediction.

Mr Morrison has also signalled the Coalition would snub a key clause in the Glasgow climate pact which calls on countries to return to next year's summit with higher 2030 targets.

Labor's new target falls short of the 45 per cent goal which former leader Bill Shorten took to the failed 2019 election. Mr Albanese described the policy as a "mistake" after taking over as leader.

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor. Picture: Simone De Peak

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor. Picture: Simone De Peak

But the political landscape has shifted since then, as evidenced by a major shift from the Business Council of Australia.

Having labelled Mr Shorten's target as "economy wrecking" in 2019, the peak business group is now calling for emissions to be cut by up to 50 per cent on 2005 levels.

According to reports, Labor's new target will be underpinned by modelling and accompanied by a raft of other climate policies.

Climate has long been a vexed and divisive issue for Labor. The party has been torn between appealing to progressive inner-city voters who want stronger target, while trying to convince electorates in regional NSW and Queensland that deeper emissions cuts won't force the closure of traditional industries.

Labor's review of its surprise 2019 election defeat found its confused position on the Adani coal mine and anti-coal rhetoric "devastated" its support in regional Queensland and the Hunter.

More to come.

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This story Labor sets emissions target it will take to coming election first appeared on The Canberra Times.