The Australian Prime Minister has repeatedly claimed that Australia will meet our Paris 2030 emissions targets “in a canter”. Yet commentary consistently reports that Australia is not on track to meet these targets.

The debate over whether Australia will hit its targets is like a magician’s misdirection – it distracts from the real debate that we should be having, which is whether Australia could pursue harder emissions reduction targets. Many people fear that if we can’t even hit current targets, how could we afford to adopt harder targets? Stoking these fears gives substance to the myth that deeper cuts could be a “wrecking ball” on the economy.

The problem is that very few people have any perspective on whether hundreds of millions of tonnes of emissions reductions over a decade is achievable or not. A new briefing from Frontier Economics suggests that a 45% reduction target is easily achievable and is highly unlikely to be a wrecking ball on the economy.

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