Zero Net Emissions by 2025

MASG meeting with the Honorable Mr. Steve Gibbons

Posted on 7 June 2010 by e-news

Member for Bendigo


Overall Steve was very receptive and willing to listen and encourages people to talk to him about this climate change and renewable energy.

He can be contacted on 54439055 or email:

We have asked Steve to provide MASG with the following specific responses to the issues he said he would report back to us by June 30th 2010:

Gross Feed in Tariff: the results of the research and thoughts he had on whether he would support a Gross Feed in Tariff for renewable energy, both large scale and micro generation and across a variety of technologies including solar thermal, biomass, geothermal and wave power.
Carbon Tax: whether he would support a carbon tax over an emissions trading scheme and if possible when would start such a tax start and at what rate (how much per tonne).

Many thanks to Steve Breheny, Neriman Kemal and Jim Norris for their clear, considered & rational explanations to Steve Gibbons.

A more detailed account of the issues covered is posted below:

Science and understanding of the urgency of the need for action.
Steve emphasized that he believes the science is there to support action and that Government has an obligation to pursue policies to tackle climate change.
He noted that he has publically stated that Australia should reduce its emissions by 20% by 2020.
Steve’s advisor Fabian Reid is aware of the concept of tipping points and stated that exceeding more than 2 c temperature rise would be disastrous.

Action undertaken by Government in the last 3 years.
Steve is personally disappointed in the lack of action that his government has been able to be take to tackle climate change, and said that he has brought up his concerns over the lack of action and how they need to do more in recent Caucus meetings.
He believes that around ½ of Caucus is also disappointed with the lack of action and wants to do more.
He is personally disappointed that the CPRS policy was postponed but blames the Greens and the Opposition for not supporting the legislation.

National Gross feed in tariff
We asked Steve if he would support a National Gross Feed in Tariff for different technologies and different scales of application to drive investment in renewable energy.
He replied that he would look at it, investigating what barriers exist to its implementation.

His advisor Fabien Reid seemed less open minded quoting that feed in tariffs “grossly distort the market” and that PV panel manufacturers have made a killing by charging too much for panels.
Steve Breheny pointed out as an installer and importer he knows that panel prices are a result of market demand and the price of the A$,not some scam by manufacturers. He lamented the lack of Australian policy support for the solar industry and pointed out because of this he has had to lay off employees and there is no real solar manufacturing industry in the sunniest country in the world.

We also pointed out that our electricity generation system is a grossly distorted market as acknowledged by leading economists Nicolas Stern and Ross Garaut. We pointed out that Coal fired power stations don’t pay the real costs for their operation and receive subsidies from Government, hardly a level playing field.

Carbon Tax
He said that he was aware that it was being seriously considered by Ministers Combet, Wong and modelling was being undertaken by Treasury.
He said he would get back to us when he knew more.

New Coal Fired Power Stations
We pointed out that we were aware of plans to build at least 12 new coal fired power stations in Australia.
We asked Steve if he supported the building of new coal fired power stations.
He said that he would need a “Bloody strong case” made for a new coal power station before he would support it. He didn’t state what a bloody strong case would look like ! We stated that there wasn’t any “clean coal or carbon capture and storage” coal plants operating anywhere in the world and that is unlikely that any will exist commercially in the next 10 years. This means that any new coal power plants currently proposed to be built in Australia would dump tens millions of tonnes of carbon pollution into the atmosphere at a time when we know we have to urgently reduce emissions and move to renewables.

MASG enews 17 June 2010

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