Australian news, and some related international items

Turnbull once again in a bind with Liberal climate denialists over Clean Energy Target plan

Tensions erupt in Turnbull government over climate and energy policy, The Age, James Massola, 14 June 17, Climate-change policy has ignited tensions within the federal government, with a group of backbench MPs led by Tony Abbott confronting Malcolm Turnbull over the proposed Clean Energy Target in a special party room meeting.

As one MP in the room put it afterwards: “Malcolm could lose his leadership over this if he doesn’t listen to us.”

The disquiet means that Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is likely to have little choice but to significantly modify the Clean Energy Targert (CET), as proposed in chief scientist Alan Finkel’s review, to keep the backbench on-side as he finalises the Coalition’s policy response, which is expected as soon as the end of July.

If he does, Mr Frydenberg runs the risk of putting Labor offside – particularly if the policy is too coal-friendly – and dashing the chance of the major parties striking compromise and ending the climate policy wars.

According to several MPs in the room, at least 21 backbench MPs raised concerns about the CET, while five spoke in favour of it and five were said to be non-committal.

Another senior MP in the room said while 32 people had spoken, one third of the speakers had been in favour of the Finkel review’s recommendations, one third opposed them outright and one third expressed concerns but were non-committal.

The special meeting to discuss the Finkel review of the electricity sector, which proposed the contentious clean energy target (CET), got underway just after 4.15pm on Tuesday and wrapped up three hours later.

The length of the meeting and depth of feeling is likely to cause a re-think by the Turnbull government as it looks to implement a CET, with coal and gas likely to be given more favourable treatment.

One of the chief concerns of Coalition MPs was the declining role of coal in Australia’s energy mix under a CET, while several MPs also warned that the CET – if implemented – could make things worse by further driving up energy prices.

The Finkel review found that doing nothing would drive prices up more than a CET or an emissions intensity scheme.

There were also calls in the meeting for stronger intervention in the gas market to put downward pressure on prices, despite the steps already taken by the Turnbull government.

The debate over climate change is a proxy, in some sections of the Coalition, for concerns about Mr Turnbull’s leadership just as it was back in 2009 when he was replaced by Mr Abbott……

Labor has questioned how a CET could include coal any type of coal fired power……

June 14, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics

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