- Our renewables forum on Wednesday in Queanbeyan,
- Release of Labor’s energy policy,
- The Victorian state election yesterday, and
- Forum and demo on Thursday.
Renewables Forum: It was a very good night with Profs John Hewson and Andrew Blakers giving excellent talks and my arguing that the main reason we needed to adopt renewables was because we face a climate emergency. In February, Repower Monaro will be organising a candidates’ meeting, again in Queanbeyan, to see how the various candidates compare on renewables policy.
Labor’s energy policy: This was excellent as far as renewables were concerned with a $15 billion package for fixing the transmission networks including interstate connectors (something that Andrew Blakers said was necessary as we work towards 100% renewable electricity); huge discounts on batteries to home-owners to support rooftop solar (and thereby reducing peak demand in the electricity grid); and adding $10 billion to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Labor’s policy also includes a 45 per cent emissions reduction target and 50 per cent renewable energy target (RET) by 2030. Unfortunately, it has failed to rule out banning the Adani mega-coal mine although it will not provide finance for it. Labor leader Bill Shorten has said Adani won’t add to Australia’s emissions. This is strictly correct as the coal will all be exported but it will add to other nations emissions instead. He rejects that those emissions will help destroy the Great Barrier Reef through climate change. This attitude, understandably, has enraged climate activists who also complain the emissions reduction target and RET don’t go anywhere near the science required to keep warming to safe levels. Nevertheless, Labor at this stage is way out in front of the Coalition (though the Greens are much stronger than both on targets).
Philip Sutton summed it up well: “Our choice is now between a government that is going to actively promote fossil fuel use and a government that will let fossil fuel investment continue if the market is motivated but which will build renewables capacity so that coal fired power stations in Australia are gradually driven out of the market.”
Victorian election: Thanks to an enormous amount of work on the ground by climate activists, and Premier Daniel Andrews basically co-opting many of the Greens’ policy positions (like reinstating the Victorian Renewable Energy Target and more sustainable transport infrastructure), Labor swept back to power with three times the number of seats as the Coalition. There were other issues than climate and energy, of course, but the Liberals vowing to get rid of the RET did not help them at all. Some organisations like Environment Victoria really worked to get the climate message across on the sandbelt line (Brighton down to Frankston) and those seats saw up to 10 per cent swings, making them all safe rather than marginal Labor seats.
Action in Canberra prior to the start of COP24 in Poland next week: For those who can get to Parliament House, Canberra, on Thursday 29 November, there will be a climate briefing called “The human face of climate change” from 1.30 to 3.45pm. You have to register and can do so here. At 5pm there’s a demo on the lawns below the main entrance to Parliament House, called “It’s time for climate action NOW”.
All the best, Jenny
Newsletter by Jenny Goldie
President Climate Action Monaro
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