Media Releases | 7th Jun, 2011

Australia can afford climate action, but can’t afford new coal power

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Environment groups have responded to today’s release of positive new Treasury modeling for the carbon price with a call to ensure the MPCCC negotiates a package that can transform the Australian electricity sector.

Treasurer Wayne Swan told the National Press Club what numerous reports have told Australian governments before: action on climate change is affordable.

The groups say the carbon price package being negotiated by the Government, Greens and Independents must include money for renewable energy investment and a regulation that prevents new coal fired power stations and ensures Australia doesn’t lock in a new generation of fossil fuel gas power.

Tony Mohr, Climate Change Manager for the Australian Conservation Foundation said, “Action on climate change is affordable. What we can’t afford is further delay.

“What’s needed now is to ensure the MPCCC immediately sees the results for $40 per tonne, because that’s the level of starting price that will be needed to deliver scientifically credible emissions reductions by 2020.”

Approval last month of a highly polluting coal power station in Victoria has put pressure on the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee to ensure that the package they announce includes a regulation that rules out new coal power stations.

Mark Wakeham, Campaign Director for Environment Victoria said, “One of the key tests for the carbon price package is whether it will be strong enough to transform the energy sector and replace our most polluting power stations.

“Australia needs a renewable energy finance fund, paid for from the carbon price, to ensure that in coming decades Australia’s electricity is delivered by renewable sources and we have clean, efficient and secure power into the future.

“Renewable energy is proven, but it needs investment support. We want to see a large proportion of the funds raised by the pollution price channeled into building solar thermal towers and wind farms so Australia can embrace the opportunities of renewable energy,” Mr Wakeham said.

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