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Australia鈥檚 leader says opposition will renege on greenhouse gas emissions target if elected

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MELBOURNE, Australia (蘑菇影院) 鈥 Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Monday said the opposition Liberal Party would renege on the nation鈥檚 ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 if it wins elections due within a year.

Albanese made Australian action on climate change an issue in elections due by next May in response to comments that Peter Dutton, leader of the conservative opposition party, made to The Weekend Australian newspaper.

Dutton said in an interview with the newspaper that he opposed the center-left Labor Party government鈥檚 plan to reduce emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by the end of the decade, saying there was 鈥渘o sense in signing up to targets you don鈥檛 have any prosects of achieving.鈥

Albanese said Australia would achieve the target despite a forecast by the CIimate Change Authority, a government agency, last November of a reduction of between 37% and 42%.

鈥淧eter Dutton is walking away from climate action. His decision to abandon the 2030 target means him walking away from the Paris Accord,鈥 Albanese told reporters, referring to the agreement struck by governments at a United Nations climate conference in Paris in 2015.

鈥淚f you walk away from the Paris Accord, you鈥檒l be standing with Libya, Yemen, and Iran, and against all of our major trading partners and all of our important allies,鈥 Albanese said.

Opposition climate and energy spokesperson Ted O鈥橞rien said Dutton was acknowledging that Australia would not meet the 43% target that Parliament enshrined into law in September 2022. Parliament made the target a law to increase the degree of difficulty for any future government that wanted a less ambitious target.

The Liberal Party will reveal its reduction target for 2030 closer to the next election, which Albanese could call from late 2024, O鈥橞rien said.

鈥淲e are absolutely committed to the Paris Agreement. We are absolutely committed to achieving net zero by 2050, and we will have a plan to do so,鈥 O鈥橞rien told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

鈥淲hat we have done is we鈥檝e called Labor out鈥 for legislating a promise the government could not keep, O鈥橞rien added.

Opposition lawmakers voted against the legislated 43% reduction target.

A previous Liberal Party government promised in Paris in 2015 that Australia would reduce emissions by between 26% and 28% by 2030. The party remained in power until it lost elections in 2022 to Albanese鈥檚 government.

The Liberal Party has not changed its 2030 target since Paris but has matched Labor鈥檚 pledge to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The two sides of politics are proposing different paths to meet the 2050 target.

Labor is proposing more renewable energy such as solar and wind-generated electricity while the Liberal Party is proposing Australia鈥檚 first nuclear-generated electricity.