Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne has commended the leaders of the European Union for today setting an emissions reduction target of 40 per cent by 2030, saying Australia's 2020 target is disastrously inadequate and must be drastically increased for 2030.
"For the health of our communities and the health of our economy, Tony Abbott needs to pull his head out of the sand and get real about action on climate change," said Senator Milne.
"The target agreed to by Labor and the Abbott government of five per cent by 2020 would be laughable, if it wasn't so disastrously inadequate.
"The UNFCCC has set a deadline for all countries to lay out their post-2020 targets by next March, so Australia's challenge now is to show some genuine ambition.
"The Greens have backed the Climate Change Authority's recommendation that the target should be 40 to 60 per cent by 2030. What will the Abbott government commit to?
"Europe has committed to post-2020 cuts of 40 per cent, while in Australia, we're struggling to reach five. Tony Abbott is tearing up every piece of clean energy policy he can.
"Europe has also just increased its renewable energy target to 27 per cent, while Australia's major parties are busy teaming up to decide how, not if, they'll cut ours back.
"The Abbott government needs to end its protection racket for the dirty fossil fuel industry and realise we are in the midst of a global energy revolution," said Senator Milne.
"This clean energy revolution is not some future event, it has already begun. It cannot be stopped - no matter how hard Tony Abbott's extreme conservative government may try.
"Just as no government could have saved home phone services from the rise of smartphones, there is no government that can save old polluting industry from the rise of clean renewables.
"Tony Abbott's campaign against renewables is short-sighted economic mismanagement. It's a huge opportunity cost that is leaving Australia behind."
Australia must submit a post-2020 emissions reduction target by 31 March, 2015, ahead of the Paris negotiations to achieve a legally binding global agreement next December.