A Senate Inquiry recommendation that the Australian government develop a mechanism to phase out coal power stations is an important step forward for the national energy debate, Environment Victoria said today.
The chair’s final report released last night includes recommendations for a comprehensive energy transition plan, changes to the rules that govern the electricity market including a pollution reduction objective and a government authority empowered to oversee a ‘Just Transition’ supporting workers and community.
Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Dr Nicholas Aberle said today:
“Accelerating and planning the phase-out of coal-burning power stations must now be a key part of any discussion of energy and climate policy.”
“Australia urgently needs a national plan to phase out coal power, which is the largest single source of climate pollution in the country. This means a rapid shift to clean energy and providing transition support to affected communities. We welcome the Senate Inquiry’s findings that this transition is both possible and necessary.”
“It is disappointing to see the Coalition produce a dissenting report in which they wipe their hands of responsibility to deal with the 155 million tonnes of CO2 coming from coal-burning power stations.”
“We are further disappointed at Labor’s report, which largely ignores the climate imperative of accelerating the phase-out of coal generators. They seem content to allow each generator to run to the end of its natural life-span, in contrast to the policy they took to the 2016 federal election which showed a greater commitment to dealing with Australia’s climate challenge.”
“It is now up to Prime Minister Turnbull and Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg to develop policies that rapidly reduce Australia’s emissions. Analysis by Reputex 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.”
“The final report goes beyond the interim report presented in November with a number of further recommendations, including calling for a stronger commitment to emissions reduction, a more ambitious Renewable Energy Target and an assessment of the adequacy of rehabilitation bonds of coal mines. Until recently, the very high cost of cleaning up the mess of coal mines has been ignored.”
“The final 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.”
“The evidence before the inquiry showed 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 Director
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