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
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 âmajorâ 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: âVoters 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 governmentâs war on renewables.â
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 stateâs energy minister, Lily DâAmbrosio, 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 âany delay, or worse a failure to reach agreement, will simply prolong the current investment uncertainty and deny customers more affordable energyâ.
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 âno policyâ scenario.
Some of the states are also concerned that the Turnbull government doesnât 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 âemission reduction obligation on the agriculture sectorâ.
âI could not envision a situation whe re a Coalition government would do that,â Canavan told Sky News.
The deputy leader of the Nationals, Bridget McKenzie, also told 2GB she would have âhuge concernsâ about a policy that would âinclude emissions issues for agricultureâ.
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 âin drovesâ.'Nutcase stuff': Barnaby Joyce threatens to oppose national energy guarantee Read more
âThe interest in building a power plant in Australia â" it is there,â Christensen said. âIf we get the settings right, there will be investment from Japanese companiesâ.
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 âstrong coal advocate George Christensen to Japan, on the coal industryâs purse, to try and persuade Japanese investors to build new coal power stations in Australiaâ.
âThe 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,â Butler said.Topics
- Australian Greens
- Australian politics
- Malcolm Turnbull
- Energy (Environment)
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