Turnbull Considering Paris Emissions Agreement Backflip
Rumours of a leadership spill are rumbling in Canberra as the Prime Minister comes under increasing pressure to dump the Paris Agreement.
Malcolm Turnbull is weighing up significant changes to the National Energy Guarantee in a bid to quell a revolt over the Liberal leadership.
While senior government members insist there is no challenge in the wind, the Prime Minister is under intense pressure not to legislate Australia's 26 per cent cut to emissions by 2030 pledged under the Paris agreement.
It is understood cabinet may consider on Monday an alternative plan to put the target in regulations, rather than legislation which would have to run the gauntlet of disgruntled coalition MPs and parliament.
However, the main criticism of regulations has been that a future Shorten Labor government could raise the emissions target to its proposed 45 per cent cut, without having to legislate it.
This could be countered by putting in place some form of review mechanism making it harder for future governments which seek to raise the target.
The plan is also expected to include what cabinet minister Christopher Pyne described as a "big stick" in a bid to force down power prices.
Turnbull is looking at stopping big power companies from inflating prices when they sell energy to each other, as well as putting a default price on retailers.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the government was looking at "immediate" ways to bring power prices down.
"The Prime Minister is very aware and very conscious of the need to apply cost of living relief in the short term," he told Sky News on Friday.
Deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's recommendation for a default retail price offer could cut prices by 35 per cent.
Labor is also considering the recommendation, which has drawn interest from coalition backbenchers.
Queensland LNP member Ted O'Brien told AAP the government needs to come up with a package that includes the guarantee but also has measures to reduce prices and drive investment.
He also wants state governments to write down their inflated poles-and-wires assets, which they are able to get high returns on through power prices.
O'Brien said getting a deal that includes the NEG would give MPs something to agree with, even if they don't agree with all of it.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott wrote an opinion piece for News Corp newspapers laying out his vision for cutting power prices, including dumping the Paris climate targets to which he signed up.
He is one of at least two coalition MPs who promised to vote against the guarantee, but other sceptics said they could be convinced if prices are lowered.
The guarantee forces emissions to be cut by the Paris-mandated 26 per cent, but backbencher George Christensen will only vote for a 17 per cent target, while Labor wants 45 per cent.
WA Liberal MP Andrew Hastie is also among those reserving their right to cross the floor.
Others publicly raising concerns include Eric Abetz, Craig Kelly, Tony Pasin, Barry O'Sullivan, Kevin Andrews, Andrew Gee and Barnaby Joyce.