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Greens pressure Victoria to block national energy guarantee

Posted by On 12:36 AM

Greens pressure Victoria to block national energy guarantee

Energy Greens pressure Victoria to block national energy guarantee

Campaign by Greens joins efforts by GetUp and Greenpeace to scuttle Turnbull government energy policy

Solar panels on a rooftop in Melbourne’s docklands.
Solar panels on a rooftop in Melbourne’s docklands. The Greens are pushing the Victorian government to reject the national energy guarantee. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The Greens are intensifying pressure on the Andrews government in Victoria to block the national energy guarantee, leafleting inner city seats ahead of a make or break meeting on the policy in just over a wee k.

The activity on the ground by the Greens joins a campaign already under way from GetUp and Greenpeace to persuade both the Victorian and Queensland governments to torpedo the policy in the Coag energy council.

The progressive pincer movement adds to pressure on Victoria, which must decide over the coming days whether to back the Neg, or reject it. That pressure is more intense because a state election is due later this year, a contest that will likely be hard-fought.

Victoria's ‘major’ concerns may prevent it signing national energy guarantee Read more

There are five seats in play at the looming state election, three currently held by the Greens and two held by Victorian Labor.

Victorian Greens MP Ellen Sandell said: “Voters in Victoria want a government that takes climate change seriously and invests in renewables. The Andrews government risks a big backlash at the upcoming election if they support the Turnbull government’s war on renewables.”

But if Victoria scuttles the Neg at Coag, the Liberals will also turn their guns on the Andrews government on the basis it blew up a national deal to settle the climate and energy policy wars of the past decade.

Behind the scenes, Victoria has pushed for a delay in the final resolution of the policy â€" an entreaty that has been rejected by the federal energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, and by energy officials.

In public, the state’s energy minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, has toughened her position on the Neg this week. She said Victoria was unhappy that the Commonwealth wanted to lock in a low emissions reduction target for a decade.

She said the emissions reduction target needed to be scalable â€" a demand that could scupper agreement at the Coag energy council.

With the states wavering, the chair of the Energy Security Board, Kerry Schott, on Wednesday launched a strongly word plea for agreement on the Neg at the looming mee ting, warning that “any delay, or worse a failure to reach agreement, will simply prolong the current investment uncertainty and deny customers more affordable energy”.

But the final technical material circulated by the ESB gives ammunition to the groups campaigning against the policy on the basis that the emissions reduction target is too low. It confirms the Neg will only drive a very small increase in the share of renewables in the energy market compared to a “no policy” scenario.

Some of the states are also concerned that the Turnbull government doesn’t have a coherent plan for emissions reduction in sectors outside electricity, which puts Australia in danger of failing to meet international climate obligations.

The resources minister and Queensland National, Matt Canavan, declared on Wednesday the government had no intention of imposing an “emission reduction obligation on the agriculture sector”.

“I could not envision a situation whe re a Coalition government would do that,” Canavan told Sky News.

The deputy leader of the Nationals, Bridget McKenzie, also told 2GB she would have “huge concerns” about a policy that would “include emissions issues for agriculture”.

Another Nationals MP, George Christensen, has travelled to Japan on a trip funded by the coal industry this week. On Sky News on Wednesday night, the Queenslander declared Japan was building new coal stations “in droves”.

'Nutcase stuff': Barnaby Joyce threatens to oppose national energy guarantee Read more

“The interest in building a power plant in Australia â€" it is there,” Christensen said. “If we get the settings right, there will be investment from Japanese companies”.

Christensen took an invitation to invest in Australia from Canavan to Japanese companies on the trip that was funded by the group Coal 21.

The shadow climate change minister, Mark Butler, objected to t he junket, declaring Canavan had sent “strong coal advocate George Christensen to Japan, on the coal industry’s purse, to try and persuade Japanese investors to build new coal power stations in Australia”.

“The unrealistic, uninvestable new coal fantasy of the Coalition party room will continue to fester unless Minister Frydenberg can back up his tough talk with action, starting with a Neg emissions reduction target that will actually secure investment in the renewable energy sector,” Butler said.

Topics
  • Energy
  • Australian Greens
  • Australian politics
  • Malcolm Turnbull
  • Coalition
  • Energy (Environment)
  • news
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Source: Google Australia | Netizen 24 Australia

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