Environment Victoria Acting CEO Dr Nicholas Aberle today said:
“We welcome the recognition from the Andrews government that the use of brown coal needs to change to deal with global warming. However, we remain concerned that leaving the door open even to less-polluting coal projects will make it harder for Victoria to meet its commitment to help keep global warming below 2 degrees.
“Unfortunately, we’re in a position where reaching zero emissions by 2050 is not enough. The trajectory to 2050 is critical, and any new project that increases Victoria’s climate pollution knocks us off the path of urgent emissions reductions that we need to be on.
“While the standards proposed in this coal policy effectively rule out new coal-fired power stations, we need to be cutting emissions from the three coal power stations we still have. Despite reforms to the Climate Change Act and the EPA, there is still no limit on how much carbon dioxide Yallourn and the Loy Yang power stations can produce.
“Over the past two decades, we have seen project after project promise the world by doing something new with brown coal. None of these have delivered anything other than false hope.
“Even new ideas like coal-to-hydrogen are likely to be surpassed by cleaner and cheaper sources of hydrogen, which can now be produced directly from renewable energy with no climate pollution.
“We saw from the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry that we are facing a serious challenge in rehabilitating the existing mines, so it is concerning that the door for new mines has been left open. This continues the uncertainty for local landholders affected by mining and exploration licences.
“The Andrews government recently committed to clean energy upgrades for a thousand homes in the Latrobe Valley – this will cut pollution, save people money on their power bills and create a range of jobs in the region. These are the types of projects we’d like to see more of.
“For too long the Latrobe Valley has been seen as little more than a coal mine. The focus on coal has proved a distraction from the necessary task of transitioning the Latrobe Valley to a more sustainable and regenerative economy.”
Dr Nicholas Aberle, Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager
Office: (03) 9341 8112 Mobile: 0402 512 121