Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, speaking from Copenhagen, said:
"Tony Abbott's misunderstanding of basic climate policy is astonishing, but the Government's response has showed up once again the nonsense of their refusal to lift their sights to science-based emissions reduction targets.
"Tuvalu has belled the cat in Copenhagen on the refusal of rich countries like Australia to follow the science and accept strong binding targets. It's a matter of survival, for them in the short term and for us, too, in the slightly longer term.
"As Minister Combet admitted today, the economic difference as calculated by Treasury between a 5% and a 15% target is smaller than expected fluctuations thanks to the value of the dollar, droughts or the global price of oil. Lifting to the globally accepted minimum of 25% has little more impact on the economy but a tremendously positive impact on our global health and standing.
"Minister Combet has inadvertently pointed out that Minister Wong has the space to rise to the ‘unprecedented cooperation' that she rightly says is needed to achieve a legally binding agreement in Copenhagen if she and Prime Minister Rudd can muster the political will to do so.
"It makes no economic or environmental sense to continue to reject the targets that we will, eventually, have to take on. The sooner we do so, the better for all of us."