RET agreement boost for jobs Media Release

Aug 19, 2009 - 6:00pm

While regretting further exemptions for big polluters, The Climate Institute today welcomed the bipartisan agreement on the Renewable Energy Target (RET) legislation and said it would provide an important driver for investment in Australian clean energy jobs and industries.

But The Climate Institute also highlighted the need for broader economy wide measures. The RET alone would achieve the equivalent of just one twelfth of the total emission reductions needed to achieve a 25% reduction in carbon pollution reduction, off 2000 levels, that both parties agree, is in Australia’s national interest.

"The RET is an important jigsaw piece in the clean energy low carbon solution, it will not only drive investment and innovation in clean energy jobs and industries but also lower costs of achieving longer term carbon pollution reduction goals," said The Climate Institute CEO John Connor.

"Research compiled for The Climate Institute has shown that this legislation could unleash over 200 projects, generate around 26 000 jobs and drive over 20 billion dollars of investment – much of this in regional Australia.

"This requirement for 20 per cent of our energy to be renewable energy by 2020, is an important step in the evolution of a clean energy economy for Australia, but there is much more to be done in cleaning up the other 80%."

"Both major parties have backed a range of emission reductions for Australia from 5 to 25% off 2000 levels, a bipartisan endorsement of the national interest of achieving a global agreement cutting global greenhouse gas levels to 450 parts per million (ppm) or lower.

"Australia’s fair share of a 450 ppm agreement is a 25% reduction, and the carbon pollution reduction from the RET alone is equivalent to just one twelfth of that.

"This highlights the need for broader industry wide measures such as a strengthened Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), and stronger incentives and policies for energy efficiency and land use."

"With stronger measures and strong targets Australia can become competitive in the emerging global clean energy economy and also cooperative in achieving a global climate agreement that both parties agree is in our national interest."

"The exemptions for big polluters are regrettable and irresponsible for those industries whose long term viability in Australia depends on the development of clean and renewable energy sources.

"Not only are they not doing their bit, these big polluters are potentially pushing greater costs on to households and the rest of the economy

"But The Climate Institute does welcome the recognition that regulation is needed for commercial scale heat pumps, we’ll need to watch these and other parts of the legislation to ensure we achieve at least the full 20 per cent of our energy from a mix of genuine renewable energy sources by 2020."

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