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Federal

Oct 9, 2017

Government abandons Clean Energy Target, clearing the decks for war

The government is laying the groundwork for rejecting a Clean Energy Target, enabling it to continue to attack Labor over energy.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has effectively confirmed that the government will be pursuing a political strategy of continuing to attack Labor on energy policy, rather than committing to a bipartisan approach that will provide investor certainty.

In a speech in Sydney this morning, distributed to newspapers ahead of time, Frydenberg argued that the costs of solar, wind and battery storage were falling so quickly that, along with greater demand management, no further incentives may be needed to encourage investment in renewable energy, obviating the need for a Clean Energy Target as recommended by the government’s own energy review by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.

At the time of its release, the review was criticised within the Coalition for overstating the economic case for renewables at the expense of emissions-intensive coal-fired power, which would appear to contradict Frydenberg’s latest position. The government remains bitterly divided over a Clean Energy Target and has been unable to reach an agreed position internally, leaving energy investors uncertain as to what the ground rules for energy infrastructure in Australia are.

Labor has shifted position twice on the issue in order to reach an accommodation with the government to provide investor certainty. However, the government has seized on energy as an issue on which it believes it can undermine Labor’s significant polling lead, and a bipartisan deal would remove that issue at a stroke.

The Finkel review recommended a CET as the lowest cost transition mechanism to meet Australia’s international carbon abatement commitments, finding it was substantially lower cost than a business-as-usual scenario — under which coal-fired power ended up with an even smaller role than under a CET, due to investment uncertainty. Frydenberg’s foreshadowed no-CET stance would place Australia on the higher-cost “business as usual” track. The government has separately imposed new requirements on new renewable energy projects that they provide back-up battery storage, has flagged it may fund new coal-fired power stations and demanded that AGL keep open its ancient Liddell coal-fired power station in NSW.

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17 comments

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17 thoughts on “Government abandons Clean Energy Target, clearing the decks for war

  1. John Newton

    As usual politics before the planet. CET, Adani.

  2. John Hall

    Does this mean our Government has determined to be Terrorists on the environment for purely political gain? If you want your citizens safe from terrorism shouldn’t this include the environmental safety of citizens too? Rising sea levels and temperatures will endanger many more than a child with a knife or a disturbed individual in a motor vehicle – bomb included or not. Power at any cost should be this Governments motto.

  3. Robert Smith

    Finkel thought he was giving the gov’t a middle-of-the-road solution with a fairly modest CET instead of the other possibilities. However he underestimated their paralysis on any energy issue.

    1. leon knight

      Not sure that paralysis is the right word Robert – determined economic and environmental vandalism would be more appropriate, accompanied by a standard of lying Goebbels would have been proud of.

  4. Raaraa

    Didn’t they distance themselves from Labor in claiming that they actually managed to get it through, and dragged Alan Finkel into the whole thing, only to give up now?

  5. alec redwood

    Once again we see LNP embracing politics over policy. Then they wonder why people don’t like or trust them…

  6. Nudiefish

    It seems a pretty stupid issue to pursue given that even rusted-on LNP voters have a slight majority preference view for RET. Nobody, except hard right dinosaurs like Abbott believe that coal is the way forward. Queensland Labor, the other notable exception, is politically motivated towards caving-in. They will likely be punished for doing so at the ballot box.

    The world is crazy.

  7. Graeski

    Jail these bastards, the bloody lot of them. They treasonous, traitorous scum.

  8. Dog's Breakfast

    It’s hard not to imagine that these current group of narks won’t be subject to court proceedings for endangering humanity somewhere in the future. What a pack of mongrels.

    How are the grandkids Mal? Are you proud of the ripped up, mucked up world that you are leaving for them? What a grandpa you are.

  9. 124C4U

    Unless Lab. advisors are stoned out or asleep, I cant see how the LNP could make any mileage out of this subject.
    The LNP has been in power for Five years and achieved nothing positive about getting enough Electricity for the nation.
    They had been forewarned about Generator closures and didn’t recognize the danger signals. Jonny h had sold off the gas at give- away prices, locked in until 2030 something, which they knew about. When Lab muttered about keeping some gas for ourselves the Libs went ballistic claiming loss of jobs, anti business attitude, Sovereign Risk etc. etc. For self proclaimed good economic managers they are wide open for a well focused Lab Party attack.

  10. Steve777

    Why does the ABC keep inviting idiots like Nick Cater onto The Drum. His view deserve the same respect as conspiracy theorists and political spin doctors.

    1. klewso

      Tonight? Conservative lick-spittle Cater and his “our policy” slip of the tongue; and his “Now’s not the time to trace blame (back to his Tony Abbott and pals)”?
      Along with “Hamish – never let a chance for a dig at Labor go by –
      McSporran”?

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