Labor shouldn't end the 'climate wars' by surrendering: Bandt

Labor shouldn't end the 'climate wars' by surrendering: Bandt

Greens climate and energy spokesperson Adam Bandt MP has warned Labor about blindly signing up to the Low Emissions Target (LET), reportedly being proposed by the Finkel Review this week, saying it could result in consumers subsidising big gas and coal companies.

Mr Bandt said instead of subsidising coal and gas, the government and Labor should accept the future is in wind, solar and storage and boost the Renewable Energy Target which is due to end in 2020. Government modelling shows that extending the RET will deliver the biggest savings for customers.

John Howard and the then Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull proposed a LET in 2007, but limited it to an emission intensity of below 0.2 t/MWh, which meant only renewables and coal or gas with carbon, capture and storage would qualify. Media reports suggest the Finkel proposed LET would be set at 0.7 t/MWh allowing the inclusion of gas and some coal-fired generation without CCS.

"If Labor and Liberal agree on a LET that is significantly weaker than even what John Howard was proposing, it will be an utter capitulation to the Trumps on the government backbench," Mr Bandt said.

"Perversely, the kind of LET that has been publicly mooted could see consumers paying subsidies to big gas and even coal companies.

"If gas and even new coal-fired power stations now count as 'clean', we might as well all pack up and go home, because it's game over for the climate and the planet.

"Labor worked with Tony Abbott to cut the renewable energy target and now it seems they are crabwalking towards replacing it with a target for coal and gas.

"It's easy to agree on a bad deal, but if Bill Shorten ends up with a worse position than John Howard, he’ll pay for it at the ballot box.

“If Labor is crabwalking away from an Emissions Intensity Scheme, then they should just back an extension to the renewable energy target or 'reverse auctions' as exists in the ACT. If an EIS is off the table, the current modelling suggests an extended renewable energy target is the better option.”

The Greens will introduce a bill to extend the Renewable Energy Target to 52,500 GWh by 2030 in the next sitting fortnight.

Government authority modelling suggests that given current high gas prices, consumers will save more by extending the RET than by having an emissions intensity scheme:

                 Source: Frontier Economics, Report prepared for Australian Energy Market Commission, November 2016, p iv.


Media contact: Gideon Reisner, 0429 109 054

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