Australia to set carbon emissions target at 26%

The federal government will today announce its target to cut carbon emissions by 26 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

The ABC reports that Federal Cabinet met last night to discuss the target ahead of the United Nations' Paris climate summit in December.

As it stands, Australia has committed to reduce emissions by 5 per cent by 2020, based on 2000 emissions. The target of 26 per cent could be raised to 28 per cent depending on the economic impact.

Opposition climate change spokesman Mark Butler said the target was low.

"Countries to which we often compare ourselves — like the US and the United Kingdom, Germany, countries like that — all have targets in an equivalent timeframe into the 40 per cent range, so 41 per cent for America, 48 per cent for the UK, mid-40s for Germany," Butler said.

However, the Government is expected to point to Japan which has a target of 25 per cent and Canada which has set a target of 30 per cent as evidence that it is in step with the international community.

According to the Climate Council, the target is out of step with the science and the rest of the world.

“These targets are vastly inadequate to protect Australians from the impacts of climate change and do not represent a fair contribution to the world effort to bring climate change under control,” Professor Tim Flannery said in a statement.

Research released this week by the Climate Institute found that nearly two thirds of Australian believe that the ‘Abbott government should take climate change more seriously’.