Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australian Greens REJECT Australia joining Generation IV Nuclear Energy Accession

Dissenting Report – Australian Greens, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young Australian Greens Senator, 
While not always supporting the outcomes, the Australian Greens have acknowledged previous JSCOT inquiries on nuclear issues for their diligence and prudence. We are disappointed on this occasion to submit a dissenting report into the Generation IV Nuclear Energy Accession. The inquiry process into the Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems has been unduly rushed and lacked adequate public hearings or detailed analysis and reflection of public submissions. This is particularly disturbing given that this inquiry relates to public spending for an undefined period of time towards a technology that is prohibited in Australia.
The Australian Greens’ dissent to Report 171 (Section 4: Generation IV Nuclear Energy Accession) is based on a range of grounds, including:
The lack of transparency regarding the costs to the Australian taxpayer over an undefined period of time;
The technology that this agreement relates to is prohibited under Australian law and its promotion is inconsistent with the public and national interest;
The lack of consideration of the global energy trends away from nuclear technology;
The lack of procedural fairness in refusing adequate public hearings and consideration of public submissions;
An unjustified reliance on the submissions from the highly partisan Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). The Australian Greens note that ANSTO is not a disinterested party in this policy arena. Furthermore, ANSTO has made a number of unfounded assertions, particularly regarding the Agreement’s impact on Australia’s standing on nuclear non-proliferation.

Unchecked capacity and resourcing

The timeframe for the agreement is loosely stated as being between 10 and 40 years. Over this period there is a commitment for Australia to pledge resources and capacity at the expense of Australian taxpayers. In exchange for this undefined public expense for an undefined period of time, there is no clear public benefit – given that the technology is, properly and popularly, prohibited in this country.
Point 4.20 states that the Framework is in essence about spreading the significant costs associated with the development of Generation IV reactors. In public submissions made to JSCOT there are detailed cost estimates for individual projects that are all in the range of billions of dollars. There have been numerous delays, cost constraints and problems with the various types of reactors described as Generation IV. While some countries continue to pursue this technology, there is no clear end-game in sight and many nations are stepping away from this sector. Most Generation IV reactors only exist on paper while some others are modified plans of expensive failed projects but are still just conceptual.
It is understandable that countries who are invested in Generation IV would seek to transfer costs and inflate the potential benefits. It is unreasonable, however, for a Government agency to commit Australian resources to fund and develop this technology which is decades away from being anything more than a concept.
ANSTO submits in the National Interest Analysis that the “costs of participation in the Systems Arrangements will be borne by ANSTO from existing funds”. The Australian Greens note that in the last financial year ANSTO reported a loss of $200 million (including $156 million in subsidies). The commitment of funds and resourcing from an agency that operates with an existing deficit that is already funded by the Australian people is fiscally irresponsible and has not been investigated through the JSCOT process.
The Australian Greens maintain that there is a particular need for the rationale of any contested public expenditure to be rigorously tested. Sadly, this Committee has failed in this role.
Point 4.24 of the report states that “Australia was required to demonstrate that it could contribute to the research and development goals of the GIF” yet the inquiry process failed to establish exactly what form those contributions will take and the cost of those contributions to the Australian people.

Prohibited Technology

Point 4.39 on the question of nuclear power in Australia brushes aside the fundamental issue that the future of nuclear energy in Australia is entirely dependent on changing Commonwealth laws.
Report 171 section 4 fails to acknowledge that the technology in question is prohibited under two separate pieces of Commonwealth legislation:
Section 37J of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999;
Section 10 of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998.
These Acts reflect considered positions, public opinion and the environmental and economic risk associated with nuclear technology which has repeatedly proved to be dangerous and expensive. The position reflected in these laws has been repeatedly reiterated in subsequent Government reports into the technology and prospects for development in Australia. For example:
The Switkowski Report – Uranium Mining, Processing, and Nuclear Energy – opportunities for Australia? (2006)
The Australian Power Generation Technology Report – Summary (Nov 2015)
Department of Energy and Science Energy White Paper (2015)
Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (South Australia) (May 2016)
These reports all arrive at the same conclusion: that there is no case to develop nuclear power in Australia, albeit for different reasons. These reasons include costs, time constraints, legal constraints, public opposition, restrictions on availability of water and other environmental factors.

Lack of Procedural Fairness and over reliance on evidence from ANSTO

ANSTO has pursued this agreement, signed the agreement, will be responsible for enacting the agreement, drove the National Interest Analysis and were the only agency invited to present at a hearing. This agency is publicly funded, has run at a deficit, and is seeking to further commit Australian resources to a technology that is not only unpopular but is prohibited under Australian legislation.
There is a wide range of experts and public interest groups who have lodged detailed submissions and requested an audience with the Committee to offer some scrutiny and balance to the highly selective view of Generation IV options presented by ANSTO.
These submissions are barely mentioned in Report 171 and additional public hearings were denied. This level secrecy and denial of procedural fairness is of grave concern and, while out of character for JSCOT, is very much in line with the secrecy synonymous with ANSTO and the wider nuclear industry.

Australia’s accessibility to nuclear technology and standing on nuclear non-proliferation

ANSTO claim in the NIA that a failure to accede “would impede Australia’s ability to remain constructively engaged in international nuclear activities and would limit our ability to forge links with international experts at a time when a significant expansion in nuclear power production is underway……. It would diminish Australia’s standing in international nuclear non-proliferation and our ability to influence international nuclear policy developments in accordance with our national economic and security interests.”
The Australian Greens understand that Australia currently pays $10 million per annum to the International Atomic Energy Agency which grants us access to the safety and regulatory fora and to publicly published research. Where there is a commercial interest in the technology this would no doubt be made available to Australia at a price – but a price not borne by the taxpayer in this crude subsidy by stealth proposed in report 171 (Section 4).
Claims that our failure to accede would somehow diminish our standing on nuclear non-proliferation are absurd. While the industry might promote Generation IV as addressing issues of nuclear non-proliferation there is little concrete evidence that it can or ever would be done. It was the same promise industry proponents made about Generation III reactors and failed to deliver.
Australia’s standing on nuclear non-proliferation is currently being diminished because this Government is actively boycotting the current UN process supported by 132 nations on negotiating a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, not because our country has not been funding research into nuclear power.
The Australian Greens fundamentally dissent from this Committee’s findings and believe that no compelling or credible case has been made to proceed with the treaty action. Rushed, limited and opaque decision making processes are a poor basis for public funding allocations in a contested policy arena.

June 24, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, reference | Leave a comment

Labor politicians give half-hearted support to Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems

MPs  Michael Danby, Josh Wilson ,  Susan Templeman  and Senator Jenny McAllister support the recommendation that binding treaty action be taken to enable further collaboration in relation to international research and development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems.

At the same time, they note Labor’s policy :

       Labor will [inter alia]:
 
       Prohibit the establishment of nuclear power plants and all other stages of the nuclear fuel cycle in        Australia.
On that basis, they :
make it clear we strenuously disagree with the argument put by Mr Barry Murphy  that the Framework Agreement will provide an opportunity for Australia to develop a nuclear energy program. It does no such thing, nor should it
The labor politicians  are:
grateful for the joint submission from the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and Friends of the Earth Australia (FOE), and the submission from the Medical Association for the Prevention of War, both of which provide a detailed and cautionary context for the consideration and pursuit of ‘next generation’ or ‘Generation IV’ reactors… http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Treaties/CITES/Report_171/section?id=committees%2freportjnt%2f024073%2f24870

 

June 24, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, technology | 1 Comment

# uranium mining companies in Western Australia could lose their licences

Uranium mining ultimatum in Western Australia sparks nuclear debate,  Xinhua Song Lifang, SYDNEY, June 22) — A nuclear debate is heating up in Western Australia on Thursday, after the state government informed three uranium mining companies that their approval licenses will expire if their sites are not operational within five years.

The newly formed State Government’s clarification on its policy has followed on from an election promise to ban uranium mining in the State for environmental concerns.

But prior to their victory in the vote, under the former State Government, three companies at four separate sites were given the go ahead to develop projects.

Vulnerable to legal action from the operators, the Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, on Wednesday told local media, “everyone knows our position is we are not very happy about these approvals, so the mining companies need to be aware that they have a potential deadline heading at them in five years from now.”

“Bear in mind five years is a long time, I mean they’ve already had eight years of getting a project approved and another five years to develop it, that’s a pretty reasonable length of time for them to get a project up,” McGowan said.

“If they can’t do that, then that’s not our problem, that’s their problem.”

In response to the ultimatum, chief executive of Vimy Resources, Mike Young, said, “We’re confident that we will start substantive works before 2021.” And Toro Energy general manager, Andrew Worland, stated, “Their policy statement is not surprising to us.”

The main reason for the delay in getting the mine-sites up and running has been due to the historically low trading price of the commodity……. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-06/22/c_136386192.htm

June 23, 2017 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Mark Parnell on South Australia’s budget

Mark Parnell MLC, Parliamentary Leader, Greens, 22 June 17 
The Government is spending two thirds of their $550 million energy security fund on fossil fuels.  This includes a $360 million gas fired power station and $48 million to gas companies for exploration, including in high value farm land in the South East.  These priorities are all wrong.  We need to phase out fossil fuels and move to a more reliable and affordable renewable energy future with battery storage, such as the proposed solar thermal plant at Port Augusta.
ENVIRONMENT
Every budget in the last decade has cut funding to the Environment Department. This budget is no exception, cutting 43 full-time jobs at a time when the urgency of climate change requires even more attention than ever.
The Greens will be ever vigilant in holding the Government to account and will continue to push for a better and brighter future for all South Australians.

June 23, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Matt Canavan calls for taxpayers to fund corporate gas exploration

Matt Canavan now wants public money for gas exploration in South East Australia as well as $1 billion taxpayer leg-up for Adani.
https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/matt-canavan-calls-for-taxpayers-to-fund-corporate-gas-exploration,10428

June 23, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Australian Parliamentary Treaties Committee nuclear fast-track cuts corners and lacks evidence

The federal parliament’s Joint Standing committee on Treaties (JSCOT) has today signed off on the use of public funds to support research into so-called Generation IV nuclear reactors. 

“This reckless decision follows a rushed process with no public hearings. It lacks evidence and justification and flies in the face of a clear and sustained global trend away from nuclear energy options,” said Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Dave Sweeney.

ACF joined Friends of the Earth Australia in making a detailed critique of the nuclear plan to JSCOT (attached).

The submission highlighted that the various Generation IV nuclear systems share many of the same risks and constraints as the wider nuclear industry, including prohibitive costs and safety, waste and proliferation concerns. 

“Australia’s involvement with Generation IV promotion is a distraction from the real energy challenges and solutions,” said Dave Sweeney. 

“Propping up nuclear research is not consistent with clear action to address nuclear non-proliferation, energy transition or climate change. It’s also inconsistent with both Australian prohibitions and community expectations on nuclear power.”

These concerns have been noted in both the Greens’ dissenting report and federal Labor’s additional comments, however they are not reflected in the final report.

“Committing public funds to a risky, divisive and under-performing industry deserves the highest scrutiny and justification, not an under the radar rubber-stamp,” Mr Sweeney said. 

Further context or comment:

Dave Sweeney – ACF nuclear free campaigner – 0408 317 812

Dr Jim Green – Friends of the Earth Australia national nuclear campaigner – 0417 318 368

Committee Report: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Treaties/CITES/Report_171

June 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Disappointment over Labor’s broken promise on uranium mining in Western Australia

The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance, an Indigenous alliance opposed to uranium mining, have expressed their deep disappointment by the announcement from Labor that will allow four uranium mines to proceed, that have been contested by Traditional Owners

Janice Scott, Spinifex Pilgi Woman “The Labor Government, we thought they would stand up for us be strong, and all that we’re fighting for – be different from the other Government. They told us lies. We believed that Labor they would help us to stop uranium mining, they got our trust and that’s why we voted for them.”

Mr Glen Cooke Ngaanyatjarra elder “we will be stepping up the fight talking to our countrymen. This impacts our lands and stories all over not just the mine sites. Tribal people are saying we don’t want uranium. Enough is enough. We will take this further, this country is beautiful and we have to look after it for our children and grandchildren and all future generations.”

“What is so disappointing is that the Labor Government did not sit down and talk with us about this decision which affects our country. Today’s decision Labor has not made one friend but has lost them many.” Concluded Mr Cooke.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Liberal Senator challenges Tony Abbott on his climate ;policy u-turn

Tony Abbott: Concetta Fierravanti-Wells challenges former PM on climate policy ‘about-face’ ABC News, PM  20 June 17 By political reporter Tom Iggulden, Former prime minister Tony Abbott is being accused of damaging Australia’s international reputation and his own political credibility in another outbreak of internal coalition infighting.

Key points:

  • Prime ministers are judged on what they’ve done when in government, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells says
  • Criticism follows Tony Abbott’s comment his Paris Agreement targets were “aspirational”
  • She calls on Mr Abbott to reflect on his actions for the good of the party

International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, once seen as an ally of Mr Abbott’s, says he has performed a “total about-face” on climate policy that is threatening to turn off investors.

“Credibility is a very important commodity in politics,” she told PM.

“Any former prime minister will be judged on what they’ve actually done when they were in government, not on what they say they should have done or could have done subsequently.”

The criticism follows Mr Abbott’s assertion last week that the Paris Climate Agreement targets he devised as prime minister in 2015 were “aspirational”.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells pointed to “categoric” comments Mr Abbott made in 2015 when he announced the “pledge” to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-19/abbott-shows-about-face-in-climate-policy:-fierravanti-wells/8631956

June 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Crikey names and shames the Liberal Neanderthals opposing Clean Energy Target

Who are the Liberal MPs worried about Turnbull’s Clean Energy Target?, Crikey.com, 16 June 17 Crikey intern Will Ziebell looks back over past public comments to work out which MPs could end up dissenting. Various media outlets reported this week that at least 22 Coalition MPs spent Tuesday’s joint party room meeting voicing their concern about the proposed Clean Energy Target.

With the numbers supposedly evenly divided between the Liberals and the Nationals, it’s worth taking note of exactly who among the Liberals is on the record as being BFFs with coal. So here are the defenders of coal, in their own words:

Tony Abbott   The former PM is still ardently attached to the rock he’s described as good for humanity…….Kevin Andrews……Ian Macdonald…….Craig Kelly……Andrew Hastie……Chris Back…..Rowan Ramsey…….Russell Broadbent……Angus Taylor……Tony Pasin……https://www.crikey.com.au/2017/06/16/who-are-the-liberal-mps-worried-about-malcolm-turnbulls-clean-energy-target/

June 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Alan Finkel on nuclear issues – he is (cautiously) pro nuclear

Finkel, in his Submission to the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission, gives qualified support to that (now dead) nuclear waste import plan, and vague support to nuclear power.

Importantly,   Finkel is opposed to Australia being the test place for the first Generation IV reactors.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Liberal MP Jane Prentice speaks out in favour of nuclear power

What about nuclear energy, Liberal MP asks https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/35957568/what-about-nuclear-energy-liberal-mp-asks/#page1  –  on June 14, 2017  As the federal coalition debates the future of energy policy, one Liberal MP believes nuclear power should be on the table.

If the government was going to look to the future all sources of energy must be considered, Queenslander Jane Prentice said. “I think it’s another discussion we need to have,” she told reporters in Canberra the morning after the coalition party room debated Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s energy security report.

“It’s clean.”

Labor’s assistant energy spokesman Pat Conroy said it would take 15 years to build up a nuclear industry, which would be more expensive than renewables. “It is a red herring by people who aren’t serious about combating climate change,” he said on Wednesday.

“Leave aside the environmental implications, if you want to get cheap energy in this country that’s reliable you need to invest in renewables.”

Former treasurer Wayne Swan doesn’t think nuclear power has a role in Australia. “They sound pretty desperate don’t they,” he said of the coalition.

June 16, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

New South Wales DEPUTY Premier John Barilaro renews calls for nuclear power

Call for nuclear debate as NSW government arrives in Singleton, Newcastle Herald, MICHAEL McGOWAN 15 Jun 2017, DEPUTY Premier John Barilaro renewed his calls for nuclear power to be “part of the debate” about the state’s future energy mix before a cabinet meeting in Singleton on Thursday.

As debates about the role of coal-fired electricity in Australia’s energy mix heat up, and plants like Liddell and Bayswater in the Hunter approach their use-by date, Mr Barilaro said nuclear “should always be on the table” as a replacement source of energy.

“Right now those power stations are run by those companies and they will make those long-term decisions [but] when it comes to baseload energy gas, coal and nuclear should always be on the table,” he said.

“As a nation we’re going to export uranium, we’re going to possibly bring back waste, but yet we don’t want to use it for our own energy sources.”

Those comments come in the wake of the release of the Finkel Review into energy security released last week, which recommended governments implement a new Clean Energy Target which would provide incentives for new generators that produce electricity below an emissions baseline…..http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4731625/call-for-nuclear-debate-as-nsw-government-arrives-in-singleton/

June 16, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Tomago Aluminium boss wants government to invest in nuclear energy

Finkel review: Tomago Aluminium chief executive says nuclear energy should be an option, Newcastle Herald, 14 Jun 2017, THE boss of NSW’s largest electricity user, Tomago Aluminium, has welcomed increased energy security requirements recommended in the Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s energy market reform report.But the smelter’s chief executive, Matt Howell, says he believes that if Australia’s politicians were “brave” they would consider nuclear energy……

The Clean Energy Target (CET)  would provide incentives for new generators that produce electricity below an emissions baseline that, for the purposes of the Finkel Review, was modeled using 0.6 tonnes of carbon per megawatt hour.

While it’s prompted dissent in some parts of the government because it points investment incentives away from coal-fired electricity, the scheme has been welcomed by others because it’s essentially technology neutral.

That’s prompted some to call for the government to consider investment in nuclear energy, and Mr Howell is one of them. …..

But Shortland MP Pat Conroy says nuclear isn’t an option because it’s too expensive.

“One, it would take 15 years to build up a nuclear industry and secondly, the levelised cost of energy for nuclear is well above the cost of renewables,” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

“Leaving aside the environmental implications, if you want to get cheap energy in this country that’s reliable, you need to invest in renewables.”

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has previously called for a debate about introducing nuclear energy to the state’s energy mix, and on Thursday Port Stephens MP Kate Washington accused the Nationals of wanting “to discuss any energy alternative except renewables”. http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4730851/be-brave-and-use-nuclear/

June 16, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Federal Inquiry needed: Adani should be questioned on history on environment and ‘allegations of fraud, corruption

Push for Adani to appear before Senate inquiry into infrastructure fund https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jun/15/push-for-adani-to-appear-before-senate-inquiry-into-infrastructure-fund  Greens say miner should be grilled on environmental history and ‘allegations of fraud, corruption and the use of tax havens’, Guardian, Joshua Robertson 15 June 17The Greens will push for Adani to front a federal Senate inquiry into Australia’s infrastructure fund and “grill” the miner on its overseas environmental and business record.

The Senate on Wednesday passed a motion for an inquiry into the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, which is considering a $900m concessional loan to Adani for a railway as part of its massive proposed Queensland coal project.

The Queensland Greens senator Larissa Waters said she would seek to have Adani appear before the inquiry to “grill them” on their environmental history and “the allegations of fraud, corruption and the use of tax havens”.

Waters said the company would be asked why it needed “a billion taxpayer dollars” if the mine, which would export up to 60m tonnes of coal a year to Asia, was financially viable.

A spokesman for Adani, which has denied any wrongdoing in relation to claims of invoicing fraud under investigation in India, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The inquiry motion came a day after reports emerged that Adani Enterprises, the parent company of the Australian mine venture, had been in talks about establishing a weapons venture with an arms business that had earlier been banned in India amid a corruption probe. An Adani spokesman told the Economic Times of India that the company abandoned early talks with the arms business as it was not comfortable with the idea.

The motion was passed with Labor and Greens support in the face of opposition by the government.

The inquiry, to be run by the economics references committee, will examine the “adequacy and transparency” of the $5b infrastructure fund’s project assessment and approval processes.

It will also scrutinise processes around Naif board appointments, including assessments of conflict of interest, and policies to manage these.

Jason Clare, the Labor shadow minister for resources and northern Australia, told parliament there had been a “cover up” around governance questions surrounding a Naif board member, Karla Way-McPhail.

Clare said an estimates hearing a fortnight ago had established that Way-McPhail, the CEO of two mining services companies that could benefit from Adani’s success, was a “personal friend” of the minister overseeing the Naif, Matthew Canavan, and was put forward by him as a board candidate.

“And this government refuses to say whether she was in the room for [Naif board] discussions about these projects or whether she recused herself,” Clare said.

Governance questions like that had prompted the inquiry and a separate Labor call for the Australian National Audit Office to investigate NAIF, he said.

The inquiry will look at the adequacy of Naif’s investment mandate, risk appetite statement and public interest test guiding decisions of its board.

It will also examine the role of state and territory governments, and any agreements with the federal government, around the fund.

Waters claimed the NAIF was “not about encouraging investment in Northern Australia” but “creating a slush fund to prop up the dying coal industry”.

Clare said it was a “fair bet” that Pippa Middleton’s Northern Territory honeymoon would “probably deliver more economic development to the north” than the Naif in its first two years.

No projects had yet been funded yet more than $600,000 had been spent on salaries and expenses for board members, he said.

“All we know is that over the last two years they have had 119 enquires for funding, they are apparently considering 60 active deals, but there are only four that are currently subject to due diligence.”

A spokeswoman for Canavan said: “The NAIF is accountable to the parliament and will cooperate with requests, as it always has done including through appearances at Senate estimates.

“This inquiry does not add any level of accountability as it is already possible for the Senate to call the NAIF before a committee, even if it’s not on a scheduled estimates day.”

June 16, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Liberal hard right oppose the Finkel Clean Energy Target

George Christensen signals he won’t vote for Finkel’s clean energy target
LNP backbencher says he and most of the Nationals won’t vote for any clean energy target that penalises coal, Guardian, Katharine Murphy, 15 June 17, 
The LNP backbencher George Christensen has signalled he won’t vote for a new clean energy target because it won’t end the decade long climate wars – because Labor will “out Finkel us on Finkel”.

Christensen said on Wednesday evening that he saw no prospect of achieving policy stability on climate and energy policy through bipartisanship, because the gulf between the major parties was too wide.

“Given the history of climate policy in this place, given we’ve got the Labor party pushing 50% renewable energy targets … given we’ve got some Labor MPs talking about no more coal-fired power at all – how are we, honestly, going to have policy stability?” the outspoken MP told Sky News.

Christensen said he had no intention of voting for a clean energy target that penalised coal and neither would the bulk of the National party. “I’m out. I won’t support that”.

He said that, rather than legislating a clean energy target, the government would be better off building high-efficiency coal-fired power stations to replace the ageing coal fleet. Christensen contended that approach would reduce carbon pollution.

The backbencher’s public declaration of opposition follows an extraordinary Coalition party room meeting on Tuesday night in which government MPs ventilated their concerns about the Finkel review, which recommends introducing a clean energy target to deliver policy certainty for investors and reduce emissions……

The former prime minister Tony Abbott – who was a vocal participant in the special party room meeting, and floated the desirability of the government buying the Hazelwood power station – continued his public critique of the Finkel reviewon Wednesday afternoon.

Abbott said the “problem” with the review was it was “all about reducing emissions”. He said Australia did not need to conform with the commitments he made as prime minister in the Paris climate accord if those commitments “clobbered” power prices…..

In an interview with Guardian Australia this week, the chief scientist said it would be surprising if governments used the overhaul of energy policy to incentivise new coal-fired power stations.

He pointed out that modelling associated with the review did not envisage new coal power stations being built…..https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jun/14/george-christensen-signals-he-wont-vote-for-finkels-clean-energy-target

June 16, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment