WWF urges Abbott to expand carbon emission reductions

THE Abbott government is being urged to expand its carbon emission reductions from 5% to 25% by 2020, as a report confirms delaying action on climate change will only cost more in the long run.

WWF Australia called for the increased emissions reduction target as Australia prepares to set new targets post-2020 at a global climate change conference later this year.

It follows a report commissioned by the environmental group by Australian National University's Centre for Climate Economics and Policy.

That report showed taking "early action" on climate change was "in the national interest" and delays would only increase the cost of emissions reductions over time.

Report co-author Associate Professor Frank Jotzo said every plausible carbon budget for Australia involved stronger reductions before 2030.

Australia is the largest carbon-emitting nation in the world per capita, and the nation's current plans to address climate change have been criticised by scientists and economists alike.

Assoc Prof Jotzo said while low-emission technology was getting cheaper, delaying action would "lock in high carbon-polluting infrastructure" that could "disrupt the economy in the future".

WWF Australia climate change manager Kellie Caught said Australia was still not doing enough to cut carbon pollution, saying delays would "shift the burden to our kids".