Abbott stifled as senate blocks bill to scrap climate authority

The first of the Abbott government bills to scrap the carbon tax has been defeated in the Senate.

Legislation to dismantle the Climate Change Authority was knocked back in the upper house on Monday by Labor and the Australian Greens.

Environmentalists took to Twitter immediately to celebrate the news.

Last month the independent climate advisory body recommended Australia triple its minimum target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, describing the current goal as inadequate.

It warned failing to significantly ramp up action would mean Australia could not do its part in avoiding dangerous climate change.

Authority chair Bernie Fraser said sticking with the five per cent target would make it “virtually impossible” for future generations trying to prevent a two-degree rise in global temperatures.

“The five per cent minimum present isn’t credible in terms of the task that has to be done and the timeframe,” the former Reserve Bank governor told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

The five per cent target was weaker than many comparable countries such as the UK and Norway, and also didn’t reflect recent strong commitments on climate change by major emitters China and the US.

The 15 per cent target recommended in the authority’s final report effectively becomes 19 per cent once extra emissions credits accrued under the Kyoto Protocol are carried over.

It’s the key but not sole number in the report, with the authority also recommending a longer-term emissions reduction target of between 40 and 60 per cent below 2000 levels by 2030.

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