Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Federal Budget 2010 – a lost opportunity

Posted on 4 May 2010 by e-news

The Federal Budget has allocated $652 million for a new Renewable Energy Fund, to be paid for from the delay in introducing the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. This fund will:
1. Make use of private sector investment in order to support renewable energy projects, along with the development and deployment of low emissions technologies.
2. Enhance Australia’s take up of energy efficiency for households and businesses

Another $6 million will be supplied to the Renewable Energy Target scheme which will see it split into two parts: a large scale renewable energy target and small scale renewable energy.

This compares with $2.4 billion set aside in the previous budget in the Clean Energy Initiative for carbon capture and storage.
The actions proposed in the 2010 budget fall well short of leading Australia into a clean energy, low carbon future. As a first step, the Federal and State governments need to develop a plan that will lead to the closure of Hazlewood power station as soon as possible, followed by the phasing out of other carbon producing power stations over the next few years. To do this, they need to focus on what will give the renewable energy industry the confidence to invest in Australia on a large scale. Only part of the solution will lie in supporting developing renewable technologies as there are existing robust renewable technologies. Other answers lie in improving the marketplace for renewable energy technologies (a gross feed-in-tariff, an increased renewable energy target with accompanying renewable energy certificates) and reducing the barriers that make it hard for renewable energy technologies to be connected to the electricity grid.

The delayed implementation of a good carbon taxing scheme, which would have taken aim at Australia’s top 1,000 polluting industries, needs to be offset by a program that puts a clear requirement on those industries to cut down their carbon emissions. Asking householders to become more energy efficient, without having stronger regulations about housing and urban design, will have little impact on our energy emissions but may reduce the pain householders suffer as our energy prices rise as fast and as much as the energy industry predicts.

As an aside, why is it OK to slug a resource tax on the mining industries but not a carbon tax? The first is a short term grab, the latter a genuine opportunity to restructure Australia’s economy to be much more competitive in a carbon constrained world.

If you want to join MASG’s 100% renewable energy campaign (and thanks to the 50 or so people who came to launch this at the Castlemaine Railway Station last Sunday) please call Dean Bridgfoot on 5470 6978.

MASG enews 3 June 2010

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