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Australia’s opposition party flags more ambitious emissions goal

Australian opposition leader Peter Dutton. 

Australian opposition leader Peter Dutton indicated his group will set a target before the next election for a bigger cut in emissions, but said that coal and gas should continue to be “a part of the mix.”

The Liberal National coalition will aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by “something like 35%” by 2030, Dutton told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Sunday on its “Insiders” program. When it was in government, the coalition vowed to curb emissions by 26%-28% on 2005 levels by 2030.

But Dutton said the focus is on making sure the lights don’t go out amid the current upheaval in the nation’s energy market, which relies heavily on coal.

“I would love to tell you that there is a battery that can replace a coal mine tomorrow, or we can bring on hydro that can support the rest of the country, but the technology is just not there,” he said. “It is not an anti-renewable issue at all.”

The comments come after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s new Labor government, which won power in an election last month, pledged to lower carbon emissions by 43% on 2005 levels by 2030.