Environment Victoria has condemned last night’s slashing of the Federal Renewable Energy Target today from 41,000 GWh to 33,000 GWh. The renewable energy target was further weakened overnight by including the burning of native forests as a “renewable” energy source and establishing new measures to hobble the wind energy industry.
Environment Victoria’s CEO Mark Wakeham said today:
“We’re deeply disappointed that Australia is further dismantling its climate policy and moving in the opposite direction from the rest of the world by rejecting clean energy.”
“Primary blame for weakening the RET lies with the Coalition, who broke their clear pre-election promise that they supported the operation of the RET and had no plans to weaken the target. Every climate policy action the Abbott Government has taken since being elected has favoured polluters and aimed to put the brakes on renewable energy investment.”
“Last night regional Coalition MPs voted for fewer clean energy projects, less investment and less jobs for their electorate.”
“Their commitment to establish a ‘wind farm commissioner’ is a new low point in climate and energy policy in Australia, when there is a mountain of evidence that the real issue is the health damage caused by coal.”
“As pressure builds in the lead-up to UN Climate talks in Paris, the weakening of the RET in combination with the removal of the carbon price consigns Australia to ‘pariah state’ on climate change.”
“The Federal ALP must also shoulder some of the blame for weakening renewable energy policy.”
“While they were keen to re-establish some certainty for renewable energy investors and make a compromise deal on 30,000 GWh, the Federal ALP squandered the opportunity to support the Victorian Government’s plan to introduce a state renewable energy target. This would have lessened the impact of slashing the RET and ensured additional renewable energy projects proceeded in Victoria.
“It is unclear why the Federal ALP did not support amendments to the RET that would have supported more renewable energy projects in Victoria. It is now up to the Victorian Government to find a different path to delivering a strong renewable energy target for the state.
“Last night was a black one for Australia’s renewable energy industry and a great one for polluters. Yet all polls show 4 out of 5 Australians want more clean energy and less coal. The decisions of our Federal Parliament are unsustainable, not just from an environmental point of view, but also politically. They have just shown themselves to be out of step with the vast majority of the electorate on renewable energy.”
Mark Wakeham, Environment Victoria CEO, 0439 700 501