Under a CLEAN ENERGY TARGET proposed by the Finkel review of the Electricity sector, Australian’s could save about $90 a year, or up to $1000 on their electricity bills over a decade to 2030.
However amidst Government Conservative backbench outcry, at a Council of Australian Governments meeting, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull promised a CET was “no barrier to building a coal-fired power station.”
In a speech to those Conservative MPs, deputy Prime Minister Baranaby Joyce said that “I believe the low emissions target [the CET] will have the capacity to deliver ew coal fired-power.”
Labor has offered to work with government on the CET, but climate spokesman Mark Butler said Mr Joyce’ssuggestion was nonsense because “a Clean Energy Target that accommodates new coal-fired power stations is an oxymoron”.
The Finkel review argues Australia has a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to reshape the national electricity market; take advantage of technological change; improve the security and reliability of the system; reward small and large consumers who reduce electricity demand and meet the nation’s 26-28 per cent emissions reduction
target by 2030 under the Paris climate agreement.
The electricity sector would reduce its emissions by only about 28 per cent under the Finkel proposal, far less than the two-thirds reduction by 2030 proposed by a Climate Change Authority report from last August.
The Climate Institute, however, said a 28 per cent emissions reductions by the electricity sector wasn’t enough because “reducing emissions in electricity is much easier than reducing emissions from agriculture” and other industries.
Overall, while Finkel’s proposals under the Clean Energy Target may go far in terms in reaching environmental targets, it is doubtful as to whether the government will be able to reach its targets of the Paris Climate Agreement. More importantly, the question here is not so much whether Australia will be able to reach to targets set out by the Paris Agreement, but whether Prime Minister Turnbull is able to convince and appease his conservative backbench enough to pass his proposals.
It seems that the government is lagging behind businesses and consumers in the environmental debate. Last week saw the announcement of Woolworths and Coles banning disposable plastic bags from the start of 2018.