Canberra, Oct 16 (IANS): Australia's biggest industry group on Saturday urged the federal government to halve the country's carbon emissions by 2030.
Innes Willox, the chief executive of the Australian Industry (Ai) Group, wrote in a comment piece for Guardian Australia, that the case for stronger climate action "has been strengthening rapidly" while the costs "are turning out to be lower than expected", reports Xinhua news agency
It comes one day after Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed he will attend the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow and outline the government's long-term emissions reduction target prior to his departure.
Willox wrote that the new package should include three key commitments; a 2050 net zero commitment, a significantly larger 2030 pledge and policy directions to achieve the goals.
Australia's existing climate target, which was set in 2015, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 26-28 percent below the 2005 levels by 2030.
"There is no magic number, but roughly halving Australia's emissions from our own peak would put us in the mainstream on 2030 goals," Willox said.
"Trade competitiveness needs to be front of mind in designing these policies.
"But it is becoming ever clearer that our competitiveness hinges on successfully making the transition to net zero emissions, not on holding it back."
The Ai Group represents more than 60,000 businesses that employ more than 1 million Australians in myriad industries including manufacturing, construction, mining and defence.
Some members of Morrison's governing coalition have ruled out supporting the net zero target that would jeopardize jobs in regional areas.
However, Willox said that Ai Group research has found that "both bad policy and no policy" on climate change would "see Australia lose jobs and investment overseas".