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    Wong Says Government Won't Pursue Nuclear Solution to Climate

    By Gemma Daley

    Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Australian Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said the nation would not pursue a nuclear solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    The government would look at other renewable energy, including wind and solar, in a bid to reduce its 2000 gas emissions by 60 percent by 2050, Wong said. Professor Ross Garnaut, who is writing a report for the government on how climate change will affect the economy, yesterday urged bigger cuts.

    ``We don't need to go down the path of nuclear energy,'' Wong told Nine Network television's Today Show. ``We will continue with our policies to improve solar, wind and other renewable sources of energy.''

    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Labor government in November won power from John Howard's coalition, which had promised to develop nuclear energy in the holder of the world's biggest uranium reserves. A government-ordered inquiry in 2006 into the viability of nuclear power said as many as 25 reactors may be built by 2050, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Garnaut, a professor of economics at the Australian National University in Canberra, yesterday told the government it should ``go beyond'' its target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2050 and that the nation would be a ``big loser'' if it didn't address climate change.

    A draft of Garnaut's report will be given to the government in June and the final copy is due in September.

    ``We know we have to act,'' Wong said. ``We have to act responsibly and we have to act with a very clear eye on Australia's economic interests, on the environment and also the interests of working families.''

    A United Nations accord reached in Bali in December acknowledged the scientific basis for developed nations to cut emissions by between 25 percent and 40 percent by 2020 to avoid the worst effects of climate change. The Australian government has a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent from 2000 levels by 2050 and has yet to set shorter-term goals.

    To contact the reporter on this story: Gemma Daley in Canberra at [email protected]

    Last Updated: February 21, 2008 18:31 EST

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