New EU climate and renewable energy targets mean Australia must lift its game Media Release

Oct 24, 2014 - 12:44pm

As the Australian government looks to kneecap Australia’s clean energy industry by cutting back the Renewable Energy Target, 28 countries in Europe have agreed to extend their efforts to cut carbon pollution and boost renewable energy.

“Overnight, European Union leaders agreed on new carbon pollution and renewable energy targets for 2030,” said Erwin Jackson, Deputy CEO of The Climate Institute. “This means that Europe will cut carbon pollution by at least 40 per cent and boost renewable energy to 27 per cent of total energy use – this works out to more than 40 per cent of European electricity coming from renewables.”

“In stark contrast, our own government wants to stop Australian renewables from growing above 20 per cent of our electricity.”

“A strong, growing renewable energy industry is vital to decarbonise Australia’s high-carbon power sector and sensibly position Australia’s economy to remain competitive in a world moving to clean energy sources.”

“It is critical that our renewable energy target contributes to long-term decarbonisation of the energy sector as a key objective, rather than basing the target around short-term industry interests.”

“The EU’s announcement yet again underscores how much the rest of the world, and our major trading partners like the EU, China and the US, are leaping ahead of Australia, while we are going backwards.”

“The EU’s 2030 target is an opening gambit as major emitters are now defining what their post 2020 emissions reduction targets will look like.”

The US and China, and other major emitters, are expected to follow the EU and announce their new targets early next year.

Jackson added: “Australia needs an independent, transparent and scientifically-based process to definite its own 2020 targets. Ultimately these targets need to be aligned with global efforts to avoid a 2C increase in average global temperature.”

“Australia has world-class renewable energy resources, but we don’t have a long-term strategy to make the most of them. It’s inevitable that our energy system will have to evolve, but the longer we delay this transition, the more it costs us and the less opportunity we have to reap all the benefits.”

“Australia’s power sector needs to continue decarbonising over this and coming decades. This requires a return to bipartisan support for a robust and growing RET, complemented by a measure—regulatory or otherwise—to close down ageing, inefficient coal stations."

For more information
Kristina Stefanova, Communications Director, The Climate Institute,  02 8239 6299

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