Australian politicians commit to 20% renewabale target by 2020

Australia's main political parties struck an agreement today on a new law requiring that 20% of the country's electricity comes from renewable sources such as the sun and wind by 2020, more than twice the current level.

The law would quadruple the renewable energy target set by the previous government in 2001 and provide enough clean electricity to power the households of all 21 million Australians.

The target matches one set in 2007 by the European Union, which leads the world in green power technology. Many US states also have set renewable energy targets although there is no national goal.

 But climate change Minister Penny Wong told the Senate that even with one-fifth of Australia's electricity coming from renewable sources by 2020, the nation's carbon gas emissions are projected to be 20% higher than 2000 levels.

Last week the Senate rejected a government-proposed bill that would have taxed industries' carbon emissions starting in 2011 and slashed the country's emissions by up to 25% below 2000 levels by 2020.

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