Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday defended Australia’s carbon pollution reduction target as in line with those of other countries after the nation’s climate change authority criticized the goal as “disappointing.”
The government on Tuesday announced plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2030, well below the level recommended by the independent Climate Change Authority, which advises the government on the issue.
In Adelaide, South Australia, yesterday, Abbott defended the target, saying it was on a par with that of the US and far better than those of South Korea and China, the world’s biggest carbon polluter.
“When it comes to emissions per capita, our target, a target that we are absolutely confident that we can and will meet, is the best in the world,” he said, the Australian Associated Press reported. “So let’s not have anyone say that this is a government which is indifferent to environmental outcomes.”
The Climate Change Authority has suggested a target of cuts of more than 40 percent.
“The government’s target of a 26-28 percent reduction in total emissions — which is what counts most when it comes to containing global warming — would put Australia at or near the bottom of the group of countries we generally compare ourselves with,” the authority said in a statement late on Friday.
Bernie Fraser, who heads the authority, said Australia’s targets were “well below what we recommended and that’s disappointing.”
“And in per capita terms, our emissions will remain about the highest of the wealthy, developed countries,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation yesterday.
With its heavy reliance on coal-fired power generation and a relatively small population of 23 million, Australia is considered one of the world’s worst per capita greenhouse gas polluters.
Asked about Abbott’s claims that the proposed per capita reductions were better than any other comparable country, Fraser said: “There are different ways of presenting these kinds of figures and I think the fact is that, in per capita emissions terms, Australia’s still going to be pretty much out in the vanguard, whatever the reduction is.”
“You know, when you’re coming from a pretty high base ... you’ve got a lot of catching up to do,” he said.
Fraser said Australia’s targets were “pretty clearly at the bottom” and did not match the requirement needed.
“All countries are not doing enough at the present time and Australia is not reducing a fair share, even of what is being done at the moment,” he said.
Australia is expected to take its targets to a UN climate conference in Paris at the end of the year, at which organizers hope to conclude a pact limiting global warming to 2oC more than pre-industrial levels.
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,
An Australian graduate student arrested for spying and expelled from North Korea last year said that he was threatened with a firing-squad execution and told not even US President Donald Trump could save his “sorry arse.” Among the crimes Alek Sigley was accused of committing was posting a picture of a toy tank on Instagram, which his interrogators told him was military espionage. Sigley, 30, was studying for a master’s degree in Korean literature at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang when he went missing in June last year, sparking alarm. A fluent speaker of Korean, he had written articles for several publications