Topics: IPCC Report, Emissions Reduction Fund
I welcome the latest report from the IPCC. I think it’s an important contribution to the information in this space.
We not only take this seriously, we have just invested over $2.5 billion in cleaning up our environment and in reducing emissions.
By contrast, Labor uses climate change as an excuse for higher electricity prices. Labor uses climate change as a revenue raising opportunity. So we’re investing over $2.5 billion in reducing emissions. Labor is using climate change as an excuse for an electricity tax.
Only yesterday we heard Mark Butler reaffirm that Labor would take their version of a carbon tax to the election.
Electricity prices will go up under Labor. What we’ll do is take steps to reduce emissions. Our $2.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund is going to help Australia reduce our emissions. We’ll achieve our targets. We’ll clean up our environment.
Labor actually opposed investing $2.5 billion in the environment. By contrast, they gave $5.5 billion to brown coal producers. It’s a weird position for the ALP to take – to be opposing investment in the environment whilst giving money to brown coal producers and hitting households with higher electricity taxes.
The CSIRO has said the key technology it’s working on to clean up brown coal won’t be available for another five years. Two part question – what are power plants meant to be doing in the meantime in the next five years? And secondly, when will they be able to access the Emissions Reduction Fund to fund that technology?
Sure. So the Emissions Reduction Fund, as I announced yesterday, will hold its first auction in the first quarter of 2015. The Clean Energy Regulator will set the date for that. That’s an opportunity for participants in all sectors – whether it’s the land sector, whether it’s the household energy efficiency sector, whether it’s the industrial or the energy generation sector to take steps to reduce emissions immediately.
It’s up to each sector to find what works for them. But let me be clear – there are genuine prospects for cleaning up our emissions on a national scale. Through household efficiency energy, through industrial energy efficiency, through cleaner power stations and through improving our landscapes.
But DICE, this technology, if it’s not available for the next five years, what’s going to happen in the meantime to reduce those emissions from brown coal, because they’re the really bit emitters aren’t they?
We’ve always talked about a medium term for this technology because that’s the advice that the CSIRO has given and I am delighted that they are not just continuing this work, but becoming more confident in it.
In terms of the steps for individual firms around the country, there is a very significant pipeline of proposals.
I won’t pre-empt the commercial proposals of particular providers, but the pipeline is more significant than we had expected at this stage. The interest from proponents is greater than we expected. So I am very, very pleased at the progress to date.
Does the Government have a plan to shut down the dirtiest brown coal power stations?
Look, our approach has been to let the market come forward with proposals for reducing emissions. My belief is that it is very possible to clean up power stations and our approach has been to do that.
The ALP gave $5.5 billion to Victoria’s brown coal generators to keep producing and at the same time slugged households with higher electricity prices.
Our approach is to take the pressure off electricity prices but to provide incentives for power stations to be cleaned up. There is considerable interest right across the power sector and opportunities for cleaning up power stations – something which wasn’t in place under the ALP.
So if you’re not going to shut down the polluters then how are you going to arrest this pretty alarming trend?
Well, it’s very clear that what we are proposing actually is a pathway to clean up power stations, rather than the ALP’s $5.5 billion giveaway to brown coal generators.
When will you be releasing modelling for that?
We will have updates over the coming months in terms of Australia’s emissions trajectory and as soon as the first auction has been held a weighted-average cost of emissions will be released.
Do you believe that brown coal should be phased out? That fossil fuels should be phased out?
What I think is that we should be reducing our emissions and we should find the cheapest way to reduce our emissions and the fastest way to reduce our emissions.
And right now what we’re looking at is an Emissions Reduction Fund which Labor opposed – they opposed $2.5 billion for the environment – and we want to see power stations cleaned up, and if we can be successful in that in Australia, we can take that technology to the world.
Thanks very much.