The verdict is out, News Limited editors think the ETS white paper terrific and give Kevin Rudd a tick of a approval. Fairfax editors think the 5-15% target is disappointing and doesn’t go far enough… a sample of the nation’s White Paper editorials:

Rudd fails to match words and deeds on climate change. A global financial crisis was never going to provide ideal conditions in which to tackle the gravest environmental problem facing the planet. Even those who had hoped that Australia would adopt a so-called middle path in reducing carbon emissions, however, should be dismayed by the extremely modest targets that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced yesterday. The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme that is scheduled to begin in 2010 will be glossed by its most optimistic spruikers as committing Australia to cuts in emissions by 2020 of between five and 15 per cent, on 2000 levels. But the reality is that the Government has committed itself only to the lowest figure in that range. The Prime Minister is following the cautious strategy advocated by his climate-change adviser, Professor Ross Garnaut, of not setting ambitious emissions targets unless a global pact makes them feasible; yet he is adopting targets that commit Australia to even less than Professor Garnaut urged would be reasonable in the absence of a pact. — The Age

Realist approach to carbon reduction. The hyperbole of deep greens cannot be taken seriously, In the absence of a global agreement, the Rudd Government has gone as far as it responsibly could in announcing unilateral cuts in greenhouse emissions of between 5 per cent and 15 per cent on 2000 levels by 2020. Kevin Rudd has made the exercise harder than it should have been and more prone to errors by insisting on starting the emissions trading scheme in July 2010 on the basis of an artificial political deadline without any sign of a post-Kyoto agreement. That said, the Prime Minister’s policy response to the Garnaut report is largely balanced, prudent and cautious. While honouring his promise to act on climate change, it is mindful of the need to protect jobs in challenging economic times. — The Australian

A clear target for business. Science and politics were always on a collision course over climate change. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd proved this as he put his greenhouse credentials on the line yesterday at the National Press Club in Canberra. Mr Rudd has committed Australia to cut greenhouse gases by 5 per cent by 2020, or by 15 per cent if a comprehensive global agreement is reached. The baseline target of a 5 per cent reduction is a smaller number than demanded by environmentalists, who argue it condemns Australia — and if it’s persuasive possibly the world — to a dangerous increase in temperatures with chaotic results. — Australian Financial Review

New target hardly pollution solution. The carbon pollution reduction target unveiled yesterday is disappointing, even though the Prime Minister sees himself caught between a rock and a hard place. While the environmental lobby says Mr Rudd has failed a leadership challenge, the business community is protesting that even a 5 per cent target is risky against the background of the global financial crisis. The long-awaited setting of a target is sparking fresh questions about the future of the Great Barrier Reef and the Murray-Darling River system as global warming tightens its grip on Australia, one of the hottest and driest continents. But how will Australia’s energy-intensive industries cope with the double whammy of the global financial crisis and a carbon tax? — The Canberra Times

Rudd climate stand sober and cautious. The Rudd Government has demonstrated and maintained flexibility and common sense dealing with the complex challenges of climate change. Its policy plan has been driven by the need to protect the environment from the potential and existing damage of unchecked carbon emissions while at the same time protecting the economy and jobs and compensating individuals and businesses affected. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and Treasurer Wayne Swan have drawn up measures which are firmly rooted in the real world and have enough forward flexibility to respond to what is an unpredictable international set of negotiations. — Courier-Mail

Rudd doesn’t follow scrip. It was a big Monday in Canberra, with the much-awaited announcement of Australia’s climate change strategy and subsequent political and community response. Nobody threw a shoe at Prime Minister Kevin Rudd during his National Press Club address. A couple of Newcastle ladies threw plenty of slogans, however. They were shortly invited to leave by event security. Mr Rudd, an alert study of the public mood, will have expected such a reaction. In fact, he may have been slightly glad of it, for the climate change yelling and shouting obscured an arguably worse decision by his government. As of January 1, the cost of prescription medicines will rise by an amount greater than the rate of inflation. — The Daily Telegraph

Carbon crunch. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has shown prudence in not over-committing Australia on carbon emissions, just as he has been decisive in trying to protect Australia in the global financial crisis. Reducing carbon emissions by at least 5 per cent below year 2000 levels by 2020 is realistic. The Prime Minister has taken into account the ability of business and households to absorb necessary measures to meet climate change. There is some concern that he is moving too quickly and that waiting at least another year would be wiser. There is also a concern that if the Government is to reach its commitment of 60 per cent reductions by 2050, there could be severe financial consequences. — Herald Sun

Failed leadership on climate change. It’s a start. That is the best that can be said about Kevin Rudd’s plans for a carbon trading scheme to cut Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. However much the Prime Minister spins the data to show that a small cut here works out equivalent to a much larger cut elsewhere — on a per capita basis, thanks to our continuing population growth — it remains clear that political timidity has won the day. — The Sydney Morning Herald

And meanwhile, this is what graced the front pages of the nation’s papers today: