Energy White Paper mostly a fantasy of climate ignorance Media Release

Apr 08, 2015 - 11:50am

The Climate Institute described today’s Energy White Paper as a wilfully deluded document, whose recommendations sidestep the challenges and opportunities facing our energy sector in a world of cleaner, smarter energy systems.

“This Energy White Paper envisages an Australia clinging on to its old, dumb and dirty energy sector rather than driving a switch to modern, smart and clean energy,” said John Connor, CEO, The Climate Institute.

“This White Paper is deeply flawed because of its reliance on an international policy scenario that would take global warming to around 4°C above pre-industrial levels. By doing so it makes the same dangerous error the government made in its post-2020 Emissions Reduction Target Issues Paper. Both ignore the internationally agreed goal of avoiding what would be a disastrous and costly 2°C of warming.”

“The paper contains some hints of the challenges and opportunities of a world seeking to remove carbon pollution - deep within the paper is a recognition that ‘there is a growing long term risk for our fossil fuel export industry in an emissions constrained future’ and there is also a recognition of our world class renewable energy resources.”

“But the White Paper doesn’t think through the challenges and opportunities of a world seeking to remove carbon pollution. There’s no recognition that helping achieve the internationally agreed goal of keeping global warming to 2°C requires a plan for an energy sector with net zero pollution by mid-century.”

“There’s an extraordinary gap between the government’s rhetoric on improving investment in energy and wilfully ignoring the biggest deterrent to investment – uncertainty about Australia’s long-term plan to decarbonise. The vision and recommendations of this White Paper remain mostly a fantasy of climate ignorance.”

“The paper notes that we have a large proportion of aging, inefficient and high emissions power stations, but offers no plan to clean them up, instead relying on a market that doesn’t even account for costs of carbon pollution.”

“The paper stands by government efforts to slash the renewable energy target by 40 per cent and simultaneously lauds the investments of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and promises to abolish them.”

Connor added: “There’s a welcome call for a national Energy Productivity Plan, but its goal is very feeble—a 40 per cent improvement by 2030 is not going to help us keep up when the US and other countries are aiming to double their energy productivity over the same timeframe.”

“This is a disappointing document that will just serve to embed further uncertainty, particularly as the broader community, both here and abroad, intensify efforts on clean energy and carbon pollution reduction.”

“There can be no plan for the future that doesn’t include a plan for a modern, smart and clean energy system with zero carbon pollution – this White Paper is no plan for the future.”

For more information
John Connor | CEO | 02 8239 6299
Kristina Stefanova | Communications Director | 02 8239 6299

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