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Chris Bowen: Australia is on track to meet emission targets

Sustainable energy projects are lifting Australia to a cleaner, greener future.

Sustainable energy projects are lifting Australia to a cleaner, greener future. Photo: AAP

Australia is close to meeting its 2030 emissions reduction target but Energy Minister Chris Bowen won’t be drawn on how much taxpayers will need to fork out to underwrite the transition to renewables.

Mr Bowen has revealed the nation is on track to cut its emissions by 42 per cent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade, slightly short of the government’s 43 per cent target.

“Australia is coming at this 2030 target starting in 2022,” he told ABC TV’s Insiders on Sunday.

“Australia on climate policies is like the kid that forgot about the exam, and has to have to really come home strongly in the final period.

“That’s what we’re doing, and the Albanese government is making up for those 10 years of denial and delay.”

Energy Minister Chris Bowen and NSW Energy Minister Penny Sharpe

Chris Bowen says Australia is close to meeting its 2030 emissions reduction target. (Bray Boland/AAP PHOTOS)

Asked if there was a cap on how much the government was willing to spend on the transition to renewables, Mr Bowen skirted the question.

“When a government is entering into commercial negotiations or an auction, it is quite standard budget treatment to say that we will not indicate our pricing expectations,” he said.

“What we’re determined to do is maximise the benefit for the taxpayer and keep those bidders with their pencils very sharp.”

Cheaper energy?

Asked if households would get lower energy prices this term, Mr Bowen could not guarantee it.

“We’re dealing with very challenging international circumstances in the energy market, just as every country, every government in the world is doing,” he said.

“I’m encouraged by some of the wholesale price movements, very substantial reductions, which will ultimately flow through to retail bills in due course.”

Wholesale prices have been 71 per cent lower than 12 months ago, he said.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference begins this week in Dubai, with a number of developed nations seeking to expand the use of nuclear power.

Asked if Australia objected to the push, Mr Bowen said the nation going nuclear was a “fantasy wrapped in a delusion, accompanied by a pipe dream”.

‘Not the right solution’

“It is not the right solution for Australia,” the energy minister said.

“This is an attempt at distraction … by Australia’s chief climate in-activist Peter Dutton, and we are not going to be distracted.”

Opposition frontbencher Michaelia Cash said the government’s approach was the “wrong way to go”.

“You need to have everything on the table if you really do want over the longer term to reduce emissions, to keep the lights on and to keep prices down,” she told Sky News.

The Australian Conservation Foundation said for every tonne of pollution to be reduced by government climate policies to 2030, more than seven tonnes will flow from new fossil fuel projects.

“It is time for the government to draw a line in the sand and stop approving and supporting any more coal and gas mines because of the damage they do to the climate we all share,” chief executive  Kelly O’Shanassy said In a statement.

-AAP

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