Category Archives: Climate

Liberal/Nationals lack ambition needed for energy policy fit for 21st Century and reducing risk of climate change

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has decried the vacuum in national energy policy and the triumph of ideology over energy reform at the Smart Energy Summit in Sydney today.

Mr Turnbull departed from towing the Liberal/National line by asserting renewable energy could simultaneously deliver a reduction in dangerous carbon pollution and cheaper electricity for the nation.

NSW Greens Energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said, “The take-over of the Federal Liberal/Nationals by the hard right faction places climate deniers and big mining in the driver’s seat of energy policy in Australia and they are quickly accelerating towards a cliff of climate consequences.

“Malcolm Turnbull is dead right. We can’t afford to let ideology and idiocy get in the way of the ambitious energy policy needed to deliver a better future for people and the planet.

“Our weather, our water and all our planet’s life support systems don’t give a stuff about your opinion or ideology, they are governed by fact.

“The science is telling us we are approaching a global crisis where if we don’t get out of coal by 2030 then it will be too late to stop catastrophic climate change. The decisions our leaders are making today will determine whether we end coal in time or we risk danger or death.

“If the Federal or NSW governments can’t come up with a credible plan that keeps us safely under 1.5 degrees of warming, then they should step aside for leaders who can,” he said.

Speaking at the Summit earlier today, NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin talked up his government’s ‘aspirational’ goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 despite having no clear plan for achieving the target.

“The Liberal/National Government had squandered seven years without a strategic energy or climate policy for NSW. In that time, the state’s greenhouse gas emissions have grown and it is lagging right at the bottom in terms of renewables across the nation.

“Even the aspirational net-zero emissions target has no credibility with 11 new coal mines in the NSW planning pipeline and no end to coal in sight.

“The NSW Government bet and lost on the Federal government bailing it out with some kind of national energy policy. Now, it’s time for voters to have their say on the NSW Liberal/Nationals massive energy and climate failure and the polling suggests they’re about to be shown the door from NSW,” he said.

Science is in: Approval of new coal mines such as Bylong risks dangerous pollution and climate change

The NSW Government should update the terms of reference of the Independent Planning Commission to reflect the latest science and not allow the approval of any new thermal coal mines or mine extensions in NSW.

In the lead-up to the Independent Planning Commission Public Meeting on Bylong Coal Mine in Mudgee tomorrow, the NSW Greens have called on the NSW Government to also rule out the Bylong coal mine and any new thermal coal mines in the NSW planning pipeline.

The recent IPCC report warned the world must quit coal by 2050 and avoid tapping the vast majority fossil fuels for the best opportunity of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees.

If approved the Bylong coal mine would be licenced to operate until 2044, producing 343.2 million tonnes of carbon pollution in its lifetime.

NSW Greens resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said the tight time frame for halting and reversing rising emissions means NSW cannot delay action.

“The NSW Liberal/Nationals ignore climate change at their peril,” he said today.

“The decisions made today will determine our fate. There should be no new coal mines or coal mine expansions in an era of worsening climate change, especially with the impacts of climate change so evident in the impacts of this severe drought.

“It would be negligent and irresponsible for the NSW Government to allow the Bylong coal mine proposal to go ahead.

“The Bylong Valley is rich in natural beauty, fertile agricultural land and significant water and river resources. These are the lasting legacy we want to leave future generations, not dangerous pollution and out-of-control climate change,” Mr Buckingham said.

Details
What: Independent Planning Commission Public Meeting on Bylong Coal Mine
When: 9am, Wednesday 7 November
Where: Parklands Resort and Conference Centre, Mudgee
More details:
https://www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/projects/2018/10/bylong-coal-project

📷: Lock the Gate Alliance

Federal Resources Minister Matthew Canavan ignores science that new coal mines risk fuelling catastrophic climate change

Federal Resources Minister Matthew Canavan should listen to the science and not give approval for any new coal mines or mine extensions for the best chance of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees.

The Minister donned the hard hat and visited the site of a proposed 135 megatonne extension of Whitehaven’s Vickery coal mine this weekend, indicating support for more new coal mining in the Upper Hunter.

If approved the mine would operate over the next 30 years, producing 385 million tonnes of carbon pollution in its lifetime.

NSW Greens resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said Minister Canavan should not ignore the recent IPCC report that warned the world must quit coal by 2050 and avoid tapping the vast majority fossil fuels or risk catastrophic levels of climate change.

“Minister Matthew Canavan and the Federal Government can’t keep pushing their outdated, pro-mining agenda on communities like Boggabri and the Upper Hunter. The Liberal/Nationals ignore climate change at their peril,” he said today.

“The decisions made today will determine our fate. There can be no new approvals for thermal coal mines or mine extensions in NSW. Vickery coal mine must be retired and rehabilitated, not thrown a lifeline for more coal production and pollution.

“Australia is becoming like the big tobacco companies, we keep pushing a product we know isn’t safe or healthy out into the market, regardless of the risk.

“The vested interests of the mining industry have too much power and influence over our Federal and NSW Liberal/National politicians. They are making decisions in the best interests of big mining companies, not what’s best in the long-term for communities and our natural environment.

“There should be no new coal mines or coal mine expansions in an era of worsening climate change, especially with the impacts of climate change so evident in the impacts of this severe drought. It is negligent and irresponsible for the Minister to allow the Vickery coal mine proposal to proceed.”

📷: Northern Daily Leader

Greens slam NSW for voting against developing a climate plan at COAG meeting

NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin has voted against an ACT Government motion at the COAG Energy Council for a national emissions reduction scheme for the electricity sector, despite State Parliament debating numerous motions criticising the government for its lack of energy policy and emissions reduction strategy this week.

The proposal from Greens ACT Minister for Environment Shane Rattenbury asked for work to develop a suitable greenhouse gas emissions reduction mechanism for the electricity sector. The plan was opposed and blocked by the Liberal/National Federal Government and the Liberal/National states governments of NSW, South Australia and Tasmania.

Greens Energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said “Energy Minister Don Harwin failed the people of NSW by voting against a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan.

“The Berejiklian Government has hitched its energy policy to the Federal government and now that the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) is scuttled there is a total energy policy vacuum in Australia’s largest state.

“Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT all have comprehensive state-based policy to transition their states to renewable energy and reduce emission. NSW has no credible policy.

“All NSW has is ‘aspirational’ target of zero carbon emissions by 2050, but that’s a long way off and there is no credible plan or policy mechanism to reach that goal and no sense of commitment from the State Government.

“Today Minister Harwin voted with the coal hugging dinosaurs to reject developing a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan that could help NSW lower its pollution and meet its targets.

“It’s an embarrassment that NSW now sides with the hapless Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor and his ‘fair dinkum energy’ rhetoric – that is fair dinkum ridiculous.

“The abandonment of the NEG has left NSW exposed. The only clear energy policy for the NSW Government was relying on a plan from their Liberal/National colleagues in Canberra who are in disarray on energy policy as well as other areas.

“The community expects leadership and a comprehensive plan for reduce our growing greenhouse emissions by planning for an end to coal, a just transition for coal-affected communities and investment in renewable energy.

“NSW can be a renewables powerhouse, with all the jobs, business opportunities and cost-effective clean energy it can bring,” he said.

IPCC Report shows it’s time to get real and drop magical thinking about ‘clean’ coal

The IPCC special report released this week noted that solar and wind energy and electricity storage technologies had advanced “dramatically”, while ca (CCS) had stalled in its infancy.

The report states [1] :

“The political, economic, social and technical feasibility of solar energy, wind energy and electricity storage technologies has improved dramatically over the past few years, while that of nuclear energy and Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) in the electricity sector have not shown similar improvements”

A spokesperson for NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin told the Sydney Morning Herald this week that NSW could achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 by ‘balancing’ out emissions from fossil fuel-power with carbon storage.

Greens Energy and Resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said the statement was an admission by the NSW Government that it would miss its emissions target given carbon storage was an unproven and unbelievable technology.

“The NSW Government’s response to the IPCC report on global warming is relying on magical thinking that carbon capture and storage can make coal ‘clean’ – and they can fail to act.  The truth is every utility-scale CCS project has failed and it’s unviable both technologically and financially,” he said today.

“The public and media should stop letting the Coalition and coal industry off the hook with this magical thinking that technology will save them. They should demand a proper, realistic plan to rapidly reduce carbon emissions to avoid more than 1.5 degrees of global warming.’

“While the IPCC scenarios to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees rely on reforestation and bioenergy carbon sequestration, they have stressed that burning coal is incompatible with tackling climate change.

“The choices made now will decide whether we avert catastrophic climate change and keep warming below 1.5 degrees. Clean coal does not exist and therefore we must phase out coal, ensure a just transition for coal-affected communities, and fast-track investment in renewables and battery storage,” Mr Buckingham said.

 [1] Page 5, http://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/pdf/sr15_chapter4.pdf

Greens challenge NSW Labor to lift ambition and end approval for new coal mines in NSW

The Greens have challenged NSW Labor to heed the warning contained in the IPCC Special Report released yesterday and rule out the approval of any new coal mines in NSW.

The international consensus report found coal use for electricity must be virtually eliminated by 2050 if the 1.5-degree limit is to be met.

On the same day, the NSW Department of Planning recommended the approval of the new Bylong coal mine in the Hunter Valley.

There is currently 1,881 million tonnes of coal either recently approved or in the planning pipeline in NSW. 778 million tonnes are from new mines, with 1,103 million tonnes from proposed expansions to existing mines. If all this coal were mined and burnt it would emit 5,381 million tonnes of C02.

Greens NSW Energy and Resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said, “The 778 million tonnes of coal proposed from new mines in NSW is a massive carbon emissions bomb poised to wreck our future.

“The IPCC made it clear that to avoid more than 1.5 degrees of global warming, most coal will need to stay in the ground.

“The vital question is whether NSW Labor is prepared to make the necessary decision to phase out coal. Will Labor recognise the scientific necessity and reject proposals for new coal mines or significant expansions of existing coal mines in NSW?

“While the IPCC was in South Korea announcing that the world had to rapidly phase out coal, the NSW Government was recommending approval for a new 120 million tonne South Korean owned coal mine

“The decision recklessly ignores the international scientific consensus that we need to end coal for a chance of keeping climate change impacts at safer levels.

“Meanwhile, the State Government is suffering policy paralysis on climate action. It has outsourced energy policy to the Federal Government, content to watch as climate deniers and the mining lobby hijack energy policy in a desperate bid to keep fossil fuels in the mix.

“Energy Minister Don Harwin continues to trot out the NSW’s net-zero emissions target by 2050 as the answer to everything, despite rising state emissions and no path for reaching the goal.

“The new report also shows the timeframe of 2050 misses the mark – parts of the NSW coast will be underwater, our agricultural sector will be shot and natural disasters will be on the rise without bold action.

“The next few years will lock in the future of our community and planet. If NSW’s current political leadership won’t take the urgent climate action needed, then they should stand aside for leaders who can.

“Labor should lift its ambition, listen to the community and work with the Greens for a safer, better climate future for NSW,” he said.

Greens’ analysis of new coal mining in NSW available here

IPCC Special Report means NSW must phase out coal within 10 years

The IPCC’s Special Report out today outlines a climate catastrophe of unprecedented scale and impact on our community and nature if global warming is permitted to rise by more than 1.5 degrees.

The scientific consensus found:

  • all coral reefs would be unlikely to survive global warming of 2 degrees, including the Great Barrier Reef;
  • sea level rise would be about 10cm less at 1.5 degrees; and
  • an increased risk of long-lasting or irreversible changes at 2 degrees, including the loss of more species and ecosystems.

In terms of fossil fuels, the report finds coal use for electricity must be virtually eliminated by 2050 if the 1.5-degree limit is to be met.

Greens Energy and Resources Jeremy Buckingham said, “Today’s IPCC Special Report is a call to arms — the coming decade is critical in the fight to protect the people we love and our planet from dangerous climate change.

“That’s why the Greens policy is to phase out coal mining in NSW in the next 10 years. The science of this report makes it clear that we cannot continue to burn coal and protect the climate.

“The failure by the Federal Government to have a credible climate or energy policy means that NSW must implement its own climate and energy policies. Victoria, Queensland, the ACT and South Australia all have credible climate and energy policies, while NSW has sat on its hands waiting for direction from the Federal Government. Meanwhile, Federal energy policy has descended into chaos and farce.

“The next few years will be history defining. This government and the next can either fiddle while the climate heats beyond our control, or they can transform our community, economy and natural world by phasing out coal and powering our world by 100% renewable energy.

“This transformation will bring with it great opportunities for new jobs and innovative technologies. Australia can transition away from being a quarry and lead the way on renewable innovation, exporting our science, know-how and clean solar power fuel to the world.

“The task of phasing out fossil fuels is now critically urgent. If the world had acted after the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the task would be easier, but Labor and Liberals, taking millions from fossil fuel donors, have squibbed it.

“Climate and energy policy will be at the top of the March 2019 state election, including seats where the Greens are challenging the Coalition such as Lismore and Coogee, and the seat of Barwon where the National’s backing of coal seam gas is deeply unpopular.

“The Greens are the only party serious about dealing with the climate emergency in Australia. When will the other parties take steps towards the serious levels of carbon emission cuts we need and admit there is no future for coal or coal seam gas?” he said.

IPCC Special Report on impact of global warming of 1.5 degrees online here:

http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/

Greens NSW Greens 10-year plan to phase out coal and protect the climate available here:

https://jeremybuckinghammlc.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/phase-out-coal-policy.pdf

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