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Australian PM Dumps Paris Target

Andrew Probyn, ABC News

Malcolm Turnbull has capitulated to rebels in his own party, dumping a plan to embed Paris Agreement targets into national legislation.

To appease critics and lessen the prospect of a backbench revolt, the Prime Minister will instead propose setting emissions targets by regulation, which does not need the assent of Parliament.

The reconfigured climate and energy policy will be more heavily geared towards driving down prices— in part to satisfy Coalition critics who say Mr Turnbull has been more focused on the Paris climate settings rather than household price pressures.

Mr Turnbull’s predecessor, Tony Abbott, was PM when Australia agreed to set emissions targets of between 26 per cent and 28 per cent by 2030, but Mr Abbott has since railed against abiding by this target.

The Government will also embrace a raft of price-focused measures proposed by the competition watchdog, the ACCC.

These include setting default prices for consumers and ensuring “gentailers” — power companies that both generate and retail electricity — don’t gouge customers by over-inflating contract prices.

The new approach on energy policy will be discussed by Cabinet ministers when they meet at The Lodge in Canberra for dinner on Sunday evening.

The revised plan will go formally to Cabinet on Monday night and likely be debated by the coalition party room on Tuesday.

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