May 08, 2015 - 1:11pm
A reported compromise agreement between the government and ALP slashing the Renewable Energy Target (RET) from 41,000 to 33,000 GWhr is a short-term move and no solution for the challenges facing Australia’s aging and inefficient power sector, The Climate Institute said today.
“The reported compromise is at best a band aid, but no solution to the challenge of modernising and cleaning up Australia’s old, inefficient and dirty power sector,” said John Connor, CEO, The Climate Institute.
“The government’s efforts to slash the 2020 renewable energy target has seen a collapse in Australian investment, just as global investments in renewables outstrips fossil fuel energy investments.”
“Whether investor confidence in this sector will return before 2020 is questionable, especially with the unfortunate retention of two yearly reviews, but it is important that Australia has a strong and growing renewable energy industry.”
“The debate about climate policy shouldn’t be about what crumbs we can offer to the clean energy industry till 2020. The spotlight must now be on the deeper challenge of modernising and decarbonising our energy sector so Australia can help in the international effort to avoid two degrees warming,” said Connor.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt has publicly confirmed that Australia still supports the internationally agreed goal of avoiding 2°C of global warming. The absence of reference to this goal in the recent Energy White Paper and the Post 2020 Emissions Reduction Target Issues Paper stoked confusion about the government’s intention in this area.
“The government is now turning to what its initial post 2020 emissions reduction will be, and that can’t avoid the necessity of cleaning up our power sector which contributes a third of our emissions and is reliant on technology and plant from the 1950s and 1960s.”
“To remain competitive in the modern global economy we need to bring our power sector into the 21st century. A strong and growing renewable energy industry is central to Australia’s prosperity but we also need to ensure our ageing, high-polluting coal power stations are phased out over the next couple of decades. We must modernise our clunker economy.”
“While the government has led the push to slash the RET and the ALP has rightly resisted this, neither major party yet has a clear plan for the modernisation and decarbonisation of our power sector.”
“Neither party has a credible vision for the future without a strategy for decarbonising our energy and modernising our economy,” concluded Connor.
For more information
Kristina Stefanova, Communications Director, 02 8239 6299
“Whether investor confidence in this sector will return before 2020 is questionable, especially with the unfortunate retention of 2 yearly reviews, but it is important Australia has a strong and growing renewable energy industry.”