A Senate Inquiry recommendation that the Australian government develop a mechanism to retire coal power stations is an important step forward for the national energy debate, Environment Victoria said today.
The Interim report includes recommendations for a clean energy transition plan, changes to the rules that govern the electricity market, a pollution reduction objective, and an authority empowered to oversee a ‘Just Transition’ supporting workers and community.
Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Dr Nicholas Aberle said today:
“How we accelerate and plan the phase-out of coal-burning power stations must now be a key part of any discussion of energy and climate policy.
“Australia desperately needs a national plan to phase out coal, shift to clean energy and support communities. We welcome the Senate Inquiry’s findings that this transition is both possible and necessary.
“A credible plan to limit global warming urgently needs to reduce the largest single source of climate pollution in Australia: coal-burning power stations. It is encouraging to see the Senate acknowledge this.
“It is now up to Prime Minister Turnbull and Energy and Climate Minister Josh Frydenberg to develop policies that rapidly reduce Australia’s emissions. Analysis by Reputex released on Friday shows current policies are allowing emissions to increase. This level of government inaction on climate change is unacceptable. The Emissions Reduction Fund is not up to the job.
“Environment Victoria presented evidence to the Inquiry that nine coal-burning power stations have announced their closure in Australia in the past four years, giving communities an average of less than four months’ notice from the time of their announcement to the time of closure.
“The Interim report recognises that leaving power station closure to the market is not good climate policy and the uncertainty does a disservice to communities and workers affected by closure. We need government to play an active role in managing the transition to a nation powered by renewable energy.
“To achieve even the weak targets the federal government has set, we would need to close around eight coal power stations in the next ten years, but at present they have no plans to make this transition go smoothly.
“All the evidence before the inquiry agreed that planning the phase-out of coal is better for communities, the energy market and the climate. It’s time federal and state governments started openly planning this transition.”
Dr Nicholas Aberle, Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager
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