Abbott government does deal with Clive Palmer to pass its “Direct Action” (so-called) Climate Policy
Direct Action set to pass Senate after Government strikes deal with Clive Palmer ABC News, By political correspondent Emma Griffiths, 29 Oct 14 Tony Abbott’s plan for a $2.5 billion Direct Action emissions reduction fund is set to pass the Senate after the Government made several concessions to win over the support of Palmer United Party and other crossbench senators.
PUP leader Clive Palmer won a Government commitment to salvage the Climate Change Authority and to ask it to conduct an 18-month review of the PUP plan to legislate an emissions trading scheme (ETS) at a zero rate.
“The authority will conduct a review examining whether there are emissions trading arrangements in other countries and what form they take,” Environment Minister Greg Hunt said………
Under the Direct Action plan, polluters would be paid to reduce emissions, in a scheme which has been estimated to cost more than $2.5 billion over four years……..
Greens leader Christine Milne has slammed the direct action policy as “embarrassing”.
“What we have here is no contribution to bringing down emissions, no modelling to backing up the claims, a government and Clive Palmer which tore down an emissions trading scheme which was bringing down emissions,” she said.
In July, the Coalition succeeded in scrapping the carbon tax with PUP support……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-29/direct-action-set-to-pass-senate/5851914
the Senator is the most qualified to represent through the ALP for this nation’s First Peoples. The Andrew Forrest and Professor Marcia Langton authored ‘Creating Parity’ report has been heavily criticised by Senator Peris. The real journey to ‘creating parity’ would have Senator Peris as the Opposition spokesperson on ‘Aboriginal Affairs’.
Nova Peris should be spokesperson for ‘Aboriginal Affairs’ The Stringer by Gerry Georgatos October 26th, 2014 White Australia still grips tightly its control over the nation’s agendas and cultural content despite a multicultural population that it continues to deride and where possible shun. The demography of this nation is not reflected in the parliaments and institutions of the nation. First People are under-represented, multicultural Australia is under-represented. White Australia – Anglo-Celtic-Saxon Australians – populate Government Cabinets, Shadow Cabinets, the party rooms of every political party. The Australian Labor Party had the opportunity to lead the way, but instead choose to let powerbrokers and the influence peddling stand in the way of the big picture message that should have been. Senator Nova Peris, not the Member for Blair’s Shayne Neumann, should be the Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.
Senator Peris has been effectively a lone voice on First People issues for the Australian Labor Party since she was handpicked by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard as a lead candidate for the Senate from the Northern Territory for the 2013 federal elections. Senator Peris became the first Aboriginal woman into parliament – a double coup for the ALP, but more importantly for the national consciousness, and even more importantly for the continent’s First Peoples.
Mr Neumann has barely uttered a word on the myriad issues affecting First Peoples since he was handed the portfolio by Bill Shorten late last year. Continue reading
Australian Progressive Party bats for renewable energy, puts coal-fired power generation industry on notice
New Renewable Energy Policy seeks Industry Certainty http://www.newsmaker.com.au/news/32830/new-renewable-energy-policy-seeks-industry-certainty#.VE6nPCLF8nk October 27th, 2014 – Australian Progressive Party
The Australian Progressive Party has released a confident renewable energy policy that seeks to provide certainty for an industry that is currently suffering from the inconsistency and short-sightedness of successive Australian governments.
The policy commits to maintaining the current 41,000GWh National Renewable Energy Target currently at risk due to the Abbott government. At the same time, the party proposes Australia’s emissions reductions targets will increase to a 15% reduction on 2000 levels by 2020, compared with the current 5% commitment, and a cap and trade emissions trading system will be reintroduced. Continue reading
Industry minister Ian Macfarlane has told the ABC that cutting the renewable energy target from 41,000 gigawatt hour to 27,000 gigawatt hours is reflective of a fall in household energy consumption………
The Greens leader, Christine Milne, told Sky News that keeping the original 41,000 gigawatt target would drive down energy costs.
“Renewable energy is undermining the business case for the old fossil fuel generators,” she said………
The government can bypass negotiations with Palmer United on the RET if Labor agrees to the changes.
Negotiations on the policy are underway. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/26/ian-macfarlane-coalition-is-sticking-to-reduction-in-renewable-energy-target
the government doesn’t need to change the laws to damage the renewables industry. The ongoing uncertainty of the policy environment, and the sheer hostility of the Abbott government to renewables of any kind, are already having an effect.
Undermining the Renewable Energy Target Is A Costly Mistake New Matilda, By Ben Eltham 26 Oct 14 Too popular to be dismantled entirely, the RET is being carefully undermined by the government. Aside from the environmental damage we’ll also take a hit to the hip pocket, writes Ben Eltham.
If there was any doubt that the Abbott government wants to destroy the renewable energy industry in Australia, this week’s announcement of its plans for the Renewable Energy Target (RET) has cleared things up. Continue reading
A backward move for Australia’s environment: Federal govt abandons regulation to South Australia’s control
As part of its broadly criticised ‘One Stop Shop’ agenda the Federal Government has announced that its Assessment Bilateral Agreement with South Australia has been finalised and signed by both parties. The Bilateral Agreement will come into force 30 days after execution, on or about 24 October.
The Agreement allows the Commonwealth to now rely on South Australian environmental impact assessment processes in assessing ‘matters of national environmental significance’ defined under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. This change has been widely criticised. There is significant doubt as to whether existing State regulations can actually be brought up to meet the standards required under the EPBC Act. There is also concern about whether the cash-strapped states are likely to make effective champions of our environmental assets when at the same time they are under increasing pressure to jettison environmental safeguards in order to pump through development and replenish state coffers.
Australia Crushes Its Renewable Energy Industry SustainableBusiness.com News by Rona Fried, 7 Oct 14 Who would have predicted that Central America would become a renewable energy leader, while Australia lags way behind?
Starting from practically zero renewable energy, Central America will install over 2.3 gigawatts (GW) over the next five years, a huge advance from the mere 100 megawatts in 2013.
Mexico is by far the leader, with $1.3 billion invested in the first half of 2014, almost double that of 2013. But last year, the other Central American countries combined also saw $1 billion in solar and wind investments. While financing for renewables still isn’t easy, most of the countries are amending policies to encourage greater investment, says Michel Di Capua of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Australia’s Government Squashes Renewable Energy
In contrast, Australia is in the midst of killing its renewable energy industry because of its new Prime Minister’s archaic policies.
After repealing the country’s carbon tax, investments dived 70% this year as the government decides whether to also eliminate or scale back the Renewable Energy Target (RET). Year-to-date, just $238 million has been invested in seven projects, the lowest level since 2002, says Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Over the past year, Australia has dropped from #11 to #31 for investments in large-scale clean energy projects, even lagging Algeria and Myanmar, New Energy points out.
Last week, rallies across Australia called for the federal government to uphold the country’s commitment to 20% renewable energy by 2020. Meanwhile, South Australia is moving in the opposite direction. Already running on 32% clean energy – years ahead of its 2020 target – the local government says it will raise its Renewable Energy Target to 50% by 2025. …….
Companies On the Way Out
“We are talking about the destruction of an industry, with no apparent good reason,” Miles George, President of Infigen Energy, Australia’s largest public renewable energy company, toldRenewEconomy. His company could go under within months to be followed by many others, he says.
US-based Recurrent Energy has already closed its Australian office. It’s got 1.5 GW of large scale solar projects in the pipeline – worth around $3 billion – which won’t be developed without the Renewable Energy Target. With markets in other countries booming, many other companies including Acciona, First Solar, Yingli and Goldwind are also threatening leaving.
Solar Systems Pty tabled plans for a 100 MW concentrating PV plant and Suzlon is reconsidering its A$1.5 billion wind farm.
Abbott’s panel that’s reviewing the Renewable Energy Target consists of two climate sceptics and a fossil fuel lobbyist.
Immediately after Abbot axed carbon taxes, Australia’s emissions jumped 0.8% in just two months – the most in eight years, due to more use of coal, reports Sydney Morning Herald……….http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/25941
AUDIO: Listen to Natalie Whiting’s report (PM) Renewable Energy Target campaigners fail to win Nick Xenophon’s commitment, ABC Radio PM By Natalie Whiting 9 Oct 14 Climate change campaigners in South Australia have kept up pressure on the independent Senator Nick Xenophon to commit himself to protecting the Renewable Energy Target (RET). Hundreds of people attended a forum this week to demand the Senator commit to blocking any potential changes to the RET. They said renewable energy employment could make up for some of South Australia’s job losses in other fields.
But Senator Xenophon refused to promise anything, saying only that he was open to RET negotiations……..
Mr Green was worried the potential changes to the target could produce more job losses.
“There are 13,000 people employed in the solar industry at the moment and conservative estimates suggest that between a third and a half of those jobs would be lost if these [federal] recommendations were adopted,” he said.
“There are also 21,000 people employed in the renewable energy sector as a whole, so including wind, and many of those wind workers would be out of a job by Christmas as well.”
Mr Green was among a number of pro-RET speakers at the Adelaide forum……..
Forum attendees demanded Senator Xenophon commit to blocking any potential changes to the RET, but he refused……… Continue reading
Victorian Labor pledges to fund renewable energy and to ensure a Renewable Energy Target for Victoria
Vic Labor to fund ‘new energy’ technologies http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/breaking-news/vic-labor-to-fund-new-energy-technologies/story-fnn9c0hb-1227082408352?nk=6c424c7410ec34b2f61e3ed41d392e3a JOHN CONROY
OCTOBER 07, 2014 The Victorian Labor opposition has identified renewable energy as a key growth sector in a new jobs plan.
Labor’s Back to Work policy released yesterday commits the party to “Establish a $200 million Future Industries Fund to drive the six high-growth sectors.” This fund will support “new energy technologies.”
The party also announced a $200 million Regional Jobs Fund that will support job-creating projects, including “companies investing in renewable energy.”
Friends of the Earth welcome the focus on renewable energy in the lead up to a state election on November 29.
“Renewable energy is a high-growth, job-creating sector globally. Victoria’s economy can benefit from the shift to renewables, but only with political leadership,” said Friends of the Earth renewable energy spokesperson, Leigh Ewbank.
The Back to Work policy announcement comes a week after Labor candidate for the hotly contested seat of Ripon, Daniel McGlone, supported a Victorian Renewable Energy Target. Mr McGlone told The Maryborough Advertiser:
“Daniel Andrews has made a commitment that should the RET be scrapped at a federal level Labor will revist the VRET and re-instate it,” he said. “I’m obviously going to be deeply in favour of that.”
Yes 2 Renewables say credible energy policy must include a state target for renewable energy, saying the renewable energy sector was languishing due to uncertainty around the federal government’s RET.
US solar company hopes RET compromise will allow projects to go ahead, SMH October 3, 2014 Angela Macdonald-Smith US solar power company First Solar is optimistic a compromise will be hammered out on the Renewable Energy Target that will allow it to press ahead with up to $150 million of proposed projects in Australia, although other projects would still be delayed.
Jack Curtis, regional manager for Asia Pacific, said that 2-3 months ago the outlook for the RET legislation that supports the sector looked “more dire”, likely forcing an exit from Australia for the Arizona-based company.
But now he was more confident the legislation that supports the renewable industry would largely survive after the Coalition government distanced itself from the recommendations of the Warburton review into the RET…….
Government and Opposition spokespeople on energy and the environment met in Canberra on Wednesday for talks on the RET.
Opposition resources spokesman Gary Gray, who took part in the talks, signalled a compromise could be on the cards.
“There is a long-standing tradition of the government of the day and the opposition of the day finding common ground on renewable energy,” Mr Gray said on Thursday……
Both the Nyngan and Broken Hill plants being developed by First Solar and AGL are under construction and should come into operation next year.
First Solar is also planning a solar plant at Rio Tinto’s remote Weipa bauxite mine in Queensland, and it has similar ventures with a mining company and with a utility planned but not yet made public.
Australia-India nuclear deal: The need for full parliamentary scrutiny, The Interpreter, John Carlson, 1 Oct 14 In a previous post, I pointed out how the Australia-India nuclear cooperation agreement departs from Australia’s longstanding safeguards requirements. In particular, there is a risk that the follow-on ‘administrative arrangement’ could deprive Australia of the ability to track and account for Australian uranium supplied to India.
It is not too late to address this problem in a way that ensures the agreement is meaningful and can command bipartisan support in Australia. There will be a crucial role here for the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT), which will have the opportunity to scrutinise the agreement and to ask the necessary and difficult questions about the administrative arrangement.
Here there are two practical issues: the administrative arrangement has not yet, as far as we know, been negotiated, so it will not be available when JSCOT commences its review of the agreement; and in any case it is the usual practice to treat administrative arrangements as being confidential.
The Abbott Government should proceed no further with the agreement unless it can give an assurance that all of Australia’s longstanding safeguards requirements will be met. Continue reading
Prime Minister Tony Abbott predicts $30 billion Olympic Dam expansion will go ahead POLITICAL EDITOR TORY SHEPHERD THE ADVERTISER SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 A $30 billion Olympic Dam expansion is likely to go ahead “in the months and years ahead”, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.
BHP Billiton shelved the expansion plans in the face of low commodity prices and spiralling costs. However the expansion moved a step closer recently, after the Government waived stringent environmental tests to let them trial a cheaper way of processing minerals…….
BHP Billiton is expected to give more detail on their plans at their AGM in Adelaide in November. Chief executive Andrew Mackenzie has said they have reduced costs and might be able to go ahead with a smaller or incremental expansion.
Before the election Mr Abbott pledged to create the economic conditions that would give the expansion the best chance of going ahead.
Federal ministers have met with BHP and have been talking up the prospects of the expansion …….http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/prime-minister-tony-abbott-predicts-30-billion-olympic-dam-expansion-will-go-ahead/story-fni6uo1m-1227075708200
What neither industry likes to talk about is the pricing of the network – did they invest too much money in network infrastructure, and shouldn’t they take a write down on those assets, rather than just charging customers more?.
Gas networks attack solar policies, fearing mass defections By Giles Parkinson on 26 September 2014 Gas industry calls for solar hot water rebates to remove to try to slow down mass defections from gas networks it fears will be caused by soaring gas prices.
The Energy Network Association has released a report that suggests the industry could lose one quarter of its customers as a result of soaring prices. It says 1.15 million households could drop gas and defect to solar hot water in coming years. Continue reading
Investors lobby PM on renewable energy http://www.investordaily.com.au/36340-investors-lobby-pm-on-renewable-energy 01 October 2014 | Staff Reporter A group of institutional investors representing $1 trillion has accused the prime minister of undermining the Renewable Energy Target.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott published in the Australian Financial Review, the Investor Group on Climate Change argued that the savings of more than 10 million Australians are invested in a “clean energy future”.
“The health of our economy is vitally dependent on investor confidence in government and the stability of its policies,” the letter said.
“For years we’re been investing the savings of Australians in projects on the basis of bipartisan support for boosting renewable energy,” it said.
“This is now at risk. Our investments, together with skilled industries and jobs that the Renewable Energy Target is creating, are at risk due to the uncertainty of your government’s commitment to the legislated 41,000 giga-watt-hour target.”
Australia ought to be growing renewable energy rather than “stepping back” from its international commitments, said the letter.
“Investors need predictable long-term policies to be confident to make investments in the energy sources of the future,” it said.
“This environment requires bipartisanship on the need for more renewable energy, not less. We encourage you not to change that now,” said the letter.
The Investor Group on Climate Change includes AustralianSuper, BT Financial Group, AMP Capital Investors, Colonial First State Global Asset Managers and Cbus among its members.
to Energy White Paper Taskforce
Department of Industry ,
from D Jim Green
The White Paper misrepresents Friends of the Earth in relation to nuclear power and I am seeking immediate clarification on a couple of points.
The WP states: “However, the relative safety of nuclear power is reflected in a 2013 study commissioned by Friends of the Earth, which concluded that, “overall the safety risks associated with nuclear power appear to be more in line with lifecycle impacts from renewable energy technologies, and significantly lower than for coal and natural gas per MWh of supplied energy.”
Question 2: Why does the WP fail to note that the commissioned paper raised multiple objections to nuclear power, and that FoE UK retained its anti-nuclear policies as a result of the review process, e.g. from the article below ‘The non-nuclear energy pathway that Friends of the Earth advocates is credible …’
Please provide immediate answers to the above questions since the misrepresentation is a matter of great concern.
Please also advise if the Department or the Minister will immediately issue a media release correcting the mirepresentation. Alternatively, will the Department put a note on the relevant webpage noting that the WP fails to specify that the Friends of the Earth group in question is FoE UK and that FoE UK retained its anti-nuclear policies as a result of the review process.
Jim Green B.Med.Sci.(Hons.), PhD
National nuclear campaigner – Friends of the Earth, Australia
Dear Dr Green
Thank you for your email to the Energy White Paper Taskforce regarding the citation of the Tyndall Centre report.
To clarify, the paper released is the interim Green Paper, which is the basis for consultation on policy issues. Submissions received until 4 November will help inform the development of the Energy White Paper. We expect to release the Energy White Paper later this year.
On the referencing of the report, we note that the quotation is accurate, and the footnote referencing provides enough detail to clarify that the report is based on a UK analysis, and allows for easy access to the online report in full, including the report origins and relevant disclaimers, as would be normal practice.
We acknowledge your preference that the report be linked to Friends of the Earth UK more explicitly in text, rather than through accessing the commissioning and disclaimer detail of the report itself. Given that concern, should the reference be used in the Energy White Paper, we will ensure that the body of our text includes the distinction. We would appreciate your guidance as to whether the preference is to use UK, or the full ‘England, Wales and Northern Ireland’ as per the report cover.
Energy White Paper Taskforce
Department of Industry