Canberra, Aug 20 (IANS) Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday said his government has abandoned plans to set an emissions reduction target in legislation.
Turnbull said he would not proceed with the emissions target — part of his National Energy Guarantee (NEG) — because it has no prospect of passing through the House of Representatives, where he has only a slim majority.
He said the NEG would still require electricity retailers to cap their prices and provide more “reliable” streams of power. Despite the setback, the nation remains on track to meet its Paris climate accord commitments, the BBC reported.
“Cheaper power has always been our number one priority when it comes to energy policy,” Turnbull said.
The original commitment would have set in legislation Australia’s pledge for a 26 per cent cut in emissions, based on 2005 levels, by 2030.
Turnbull’s U-turn alters a key plank of his signature energy policy, and follows a revolt by conservative MPs within his government. He said the climate policy was not supported by all of his colleagues.
“In politics you have to focus on what you can deliver,” Turnbull told reporters on Monday.
The move comes amid media reports that Turnbull could face a leadership challenge if the issue is not resolved. He though, said he retains the support of party colleagues, including Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.
The Australian media outlets named Dutton as considering the leadership challenge, but the Home Minister has tweeted his supported to the Prime Minister.
Turnbull has been facing increased pressure over the last few weeks ever since he lost a bye-election in Queensland.