Category Archives: Media

Nationals should name locations for nutty nuclear power plant plan

MEDIA RELEASE – 19 May 2017

The Greens NSW Energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today slammed the National Party and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro for raising the prospect of a nuclear power plant in NSW saying renewable energy is safer, cheaper, and more effective at combatting climate change.

“I challenge John Barilaro and Gladys Berejiklian to name which electorate, which suburb and which town in NSW they think a nuclear power plant should be built in,” Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said.

“They also need to come clean with where they are planning to have a nuclear waste dump to manage the highly radioactive waste fuel that will be produced.

“Nuclear power is an enormous risk that is not worth taking. We should learn the lessons from Fukushima and Chernobyl that nuclear power can be catastrophic.

“This is just another nutty, extreme idea from the National Party who is stuck in the wrong century pushing coal and nuclear and ignoring the massive renewable energy potential of Australia.

“Launching their nuclear ambitions in Broken Hill shows the Nationals are completely out of touch with the community and the future of energy supply in Australia.

“One of the largest solar farms in the country, the Broken Hill Solar Plant, has just been built and the nearby Silverton Wind Farm will be the largest wind project in NSW once it is constructed.

“The declining cost of renewables means nuclear energy does not make financial sense, as we can see with Japanese giant Toshiba going broke because of its involvement in nuclear power plants.

“Even if the Nationals could force nuclear power through massive community opposition, it is not an answer to our energy needs or climate crisis with plants taking more than a decade to be built.

“The Greens believe the future of energy supply is renewables, not dirty coal and dangerous nuclear power,” Mr Buckingham concluded.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0439 460 691

Approval of hemp seed consumption great news for farmers and consumers

MEDIA RELEASE 28 April 2017

The Greens welcome the decision to allow the sale of hemp food for human consumption which was made today by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation at a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting.

The Greens have campaigned for this rule change for many years as a key to making hemp cultivation viable for Australian farmers and providing consumers with a good source of nutrition.

NSW Greens agriculture spokesperson, Jeremy Buckingham said:

“A year and a half ago I admitted in parliament that I occasionally eat hemp seeds on my breakfast cereal – effectively breaking the law.  It is pleasing to see this silly law has been dropped and Australia has joined with the rest of the world in accepting hemp food consumption,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“This is a big win for farmers, consumers, and the Greens.  Finally COAG has stopped dragging its feet, got beyond the stigma, and recognised hemp as a crop and food product with enormous potential.

“Allowing farmers to sell both the seed and the fibre will make hemp a viable crop for farmers to grow and potentially create a new export market for Australia.

“The Greens look forward to working with the government to pass any required legislation to implement this decision.”

Blame coal seam gas for price hikes.  It is more expensive to produce

MEDIA RELEASE – 28 April 2017

The cost of producing coal seam gas at Santos’ Narrabri project will be almost double the production cost of conventional gas in Bass Strait according to the Australia Energy Market Operator, and will be unlikely to reduce the price of gas in the domestic market.  It is the drive into unconventional gas and the cartel dominating the gas market that has led to the massive price rises.

Unconventional gas is more expensive to produce due to the large amount of salty water that must be extracted to depressurise the aquifer and the large number of wells and associated infrastructure that must be drilled and fracked.

The Core Energy Group report commissioned by AEMO in February 2015 found:

  • Bass Straight conventional gas production cost – $4.05
  • Cooper Basin conventional gas production cost – $5.30
  • Narrabri coal seam gas production cost – $7.25

NSW Greens energy and resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said:

“The cost of producing coal seam gas is far more expensive than conventional gas and was only made financially viable by the push into exports and the associated price hikes.”

“The current ultra-high gas prices are the result of letting a cartel loose on a vulnerable market.  The only way to fix it is to place controls on the cartel to stop it extorting its market power.

“Now that sensible regulation of the gas market has begun to be applied, it will be even less politically palatable to force fracking down farmers’ throats. Australians will rightly want stronger regulation of the gas market rather than has their community turned into a gasfield to prop up the profits of big gas companies that made poor investment decisions or signed bad contracts.

“Prime Minister Turnbull’s push to help the gas companies force their way into fracking more expensive unconventional gas will be rightly rejected by the community and state governments who do not want to lose office.  Coal seam gas does not have a social licence.”

Ian Macdonald’s conviction underlines the need for further reform of mining licencing

MEDIA RELEASE – 30 March 2017

NSW Greens resources and energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said today that the conviction of Ian Macdonald for criminal misconduct in issuing a coal exploration licence underlined the need for a strong ICAC and further reform in an area that is prone to corruption risks.

“The Greens welcome the prospect of Ian Macdonald spending many a long lonely night in jail with his mate Eddie Obeid,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“ICAC have identified the granting and administration of mining licences as an area that is vulnerable to corruption.  Unfortunately the government has not acted to ensure such corruption does not happen again.

“Donations from mining companies should be banned for similar reasons that donations from property developers are banned.  Both industries can benefit greatly from government decisions and, therefore the perception and risk that political donations may sway decisions makers is very real.

“We also need to implement stricter regulations and cooling off periods to stop the revolving door between government and the resources sector, which calls into question whether ministers, advisors and bureaucrats are working in the public interest or for private interests.

“High profile moves through this door include current head of the NSW Minerals Council, Stephen Galilee, who used to work for former Premier Mike Baird; former federal resources ministers Martin Ferguson, became chairman of the Advisory Board of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) and a non-executive director of Seven Group Holdings and British Gas Group; and former federal resources minister  Ian Macfarlane is now chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council

“This conviction shows the importance of having a strong and independent ICAC and it is shameful that the NSW Government has worked in recent years to weaken its body and bring it to heel.”

Greens Bill to ban ‘waste to energy’ incinerators within 15km of homes

MEDIA RELEASE – 30 March 2017

The NSW Greens will introduce legislation to the Upper House this morning that would prohibit locating large polluting ‘waste to energy’ incinerators within 15 kilometres of urban zonings, and would effectively kill off a proposal from Mr Ian Malouf’s Dial-A-Dump company to build the world’s largest waste incinerator on his land in Eastern Creek, only 800 metres from homes and a school in Minchinbury and close to homes in Erskine Park, St Clair, Colyton St Mary’s,  Rooty Hill and Penrith, and only 5km from Prospect Reservoir which stores Sydney’s drinking water.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Waste Incinerator Facilities – Residential Exclusion Zones) Bill 2017 will be introduced into parliament this morning by Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

Mr Malouf’s has lodged an Environmental Impact Statement with the Department of Planning, but over 1,000 submissions were lodged objecting to the development, including from the Environmental Protection Authority, NSW Health, Minchinbury Public School and Hillsong Church.

  • If approved it would cost $588 million to build the world’s largest garbage incinerator with a capacity to burn 1.34 million tonnes of waste every year to produce 137MW of electricity.
  • Waste to be burnt is estimated to be 18% plastics, 17% paper/card, 4% textiles, 30% wood scraps, 2.5% gyprock, 1% metal, 3 vegetation, 20.3% other combustibles, combustibles, non-combustibles and other’
  • Twin 100 metre exhaust stacks will spew out pollution including fine particulate matter dangerous to human health – PM10 and PM2.5; heavy metals including Mercury (Hg), Cadmium (Cd), Arsenic (As) and Chromium (Cr); chemical compounds including Hydrogen Chloride (HCI), Hydrogen Fluoride (HF), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Oxides (NO2); and highly toxic organic substances such as dioxins and furans.

NSW Green energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said:

“We should be improving air quality in Sydney, not creating a giant new source of pollution.

“The Greens will introduce legislation that will prohibit waste to energy incinerators within 15 kilometres of urban zonings to ensure they are not located in inappropriate areas.

“This incinerator will reduce recycling rates, spew out air pollution and impact on the health of residents in Western Sydney.

“With thousands of trucks delivering over a million tonnes of waste to be burnt each year, there is no certainty about what chemicals and particles will come out of the exhaust stacks – which is why the EPA and NSW Health object to this proposal.

“It’s the government’s role to step in and protect the lungs of Western Sydney.  Whether a giant waste incinerator is built only a kilometre from homes and schools is a decision for the government and parliament, and cannot just be left to planning bureaucrats.

“The Greens campaign against this incinerator is building momentum in Western Sydney.  If the Liberal Party does not stop this incinerator they will lose crucial seats in Western Sydney and government.”

NSW Health made a submission objecting to the incinerator saying:

“The proposal to build and operate an incinerator within city limits is not consistent with over 100 years of environmental regulation to improve urban air quality by removing incinerators and power stations and other sources of pollutants from urban areas. We note that this plant is double the size of similar plants overseas and we require assurance that appropriate environmental controls are in place and effective in the long term.”

And

“There are many known health effects from exposure to particulate matter.  Numerous studies have showed associations between exposure to particles and increased hospital admissions as well as death from heart or lung diseases.”

The EPA made a submission objecting to the incinerator saying:

“The EPA particularly has concerns in relation to potential air quality impacts; human health impacts; and alignment with the NSW EPA’s Energy from Waste Policy”
A public meeting will be held on the incinerator proposal at 7 – 8.30pm Thursday 13 April at the Erskine Park Community Hall, 57 Peppertree Drive Erskine Park.

A social media video on the incinerator is available for download here and on YouTube here.

Snowy Hydro 2.0 a sign of panicked policy, but has some merit

MEDIA RELEASE – 16 March 2017

The NSW Greens have labelled the Snowy Hydro 2.0 plan as panicked policy on the run from a federal government without a coherent plan to transition the energy system to renewable energy, and questioned whether modern battery storage would be a faster, more flexible and potentially more cost-effective solution.

NSW Greens energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said:

“The failure of the Coalition to accept and manage the inevitable transition of our energy system to renewable energy is leading to an incoherent and panicked policy response.

“Investigating the concept of expanding pumped storage at Snowy Hydro has some merit, but it should be compared with modern battery storage technology which may be faster to implement, more flexible and possibly provide better value, depending on project costs and battery prices.

“The reality is this project would initially see coal generated electricity used to pump water uphill, so should not necessarily be classed as renewable energy.  In the long-term, a variety of energy storage options, including pumped hydro powered by renewable energy is important to the grid.

“This idea has generated a lot of media coverage, but will not generate any electricity in the next few years to assist with the immediate issue of peak demand.

“The NSW Greens would oppose money being directed away from building genuine new renewable energy generation to fund this storage project.

“If the project involved any augmentation of the dam area, extra water use, or damage to the natural environment, then it will face significant opposition from the community, including the Greens.

“It is good that the government now recognises that public investment in energy infrastructure is important.  The government should fund a rapid transition to renewable energy to protect the climate.”

Greens move for 10 year phase-out of thermal coal mining in NSW

MEDIA RELEASE – 3 March 2017

Australian Greens Leader Richard Di Natale and NSW Greens energy and resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham will today launch a new policy to phase-out thermal coal mining in ten years with a bill that would set up a framework to limit further coal mining to one billion tonnes.

The policy is a framework for:

  • 10 year time limit for thermal coal mining in NSW
  • A limit of one billion tonnes of thermal coal production
  • A competitive allocation framework for companies to bid to mine coal under a reducing cap
  • Mining royalties go to a transition fund for workers and regional economies

Here is a brief on the framework and also the bill Jeremy Buckingham will introduce into parliament next week.

NSW Greens energy and resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said: 

“It is a scientific fact that we cannot continue to burn coal and protect the climate. We must act now before it is too late.

“We have run out of time. We are teetering on the edge of disaster and must act seriously now or we will lock in catastrophic levels of global warming with the significant environmental, economic and social disasters that will be caused by a changing climate.

“A transition away from coal is inevitable. The real question is whether we transition fast enough to protect the climate, and whether it is a managed transition, or a chaotic collapse.

“The Greens are being prudent in seeking to set climate policy according to the science and in setting up a market-based framework to implement a phase-out of thermal coal mining.”

Australian Greens Leader, Senator Richard Di Natale said: 

“Since we cannot rely on the federal Government to provide any meaningful action towards mitigating dangerous climate change, we have to rely for now on the states to provide the country with a 21 st century energy policy. That’s exactly what the NSW Greens are proposing to do with this policy of phasing out coal.”

NSW Greens launch framework for
10 year phase-out of thermal coal mining

Key points:

  • 10 year time limit for thermal coal mining in NSW
  • A limit of one billion tonnes of thermal coal production
  • A competitive allocation framework for companies to bid to mine coal under a reducing cap
  • Mining royalties go to a transition fund for workers and regional economies


A legislative framework to phase-out coal in ten years

The NSW Greens will introduce a bill into NSW Parliament which will set a ten year phase-out timeline with a total limit on the amount of thermal coal that can be mined in NSW.

The Mining Amendment (Climate Protection – Phasing-out Coal Mining) Bill 2017 establishes a framework for a managed phase-out of coal mining in NSW in order to protect the climate from catastrophic global warming.  Research published in the esteemed scientific journal Nature found that 90% of global coal reserves must remain in the ground if there is a 50% chance of keeping global warming under 2 degrees Celsius.  The Paris Climate Summit agreement set a target of keeping global warming under 2 degrees Celsius, with an ambition of limiting warming to only 1.5 degrees.

Phase-out trajectory

Under this bill, a maximum of one billion tonnes of thermal coal can be mined over the next ten years (no action would see 2 billion tonnes mined in this period).

mining-amendment-climate-protection-phasing-out-coal-mining-bill-2017

The framework implements a smooth phase-out trajectory over ten years.
The Mining Amendment (Climate Protection – Phasing-out Coal Mining) Bill 2017 legislates for the following timetable of maximum thermal coal production in NSW:

Year 1 180 million tonnes
Year 2 163 million tonnes
Year 3 145 million tonnes
Year 4 127 million tonnes
Year 5 109 million tonnes
Year 6 91 million tonnes
Year 7 73 million tonnes
Year 8 55 million tonnes
Year 9 37 million tonnes
Year 10 20 million tonnes
Year 11> 0 tonnes

The bill empowers the minister to implement a competitive process to allocate coal production under the caps. Mining companies would take part in a competitive auction to purchase the right to mine coal during the phase out period.

Export coal is a major contributor to climate change

Around 90% of Australian coal is mined for export.  Even if Australia shifted to 100% renewable domestic energy generation, our contribution to climate change through the mining and export of thermal coal would still be huge.

Last chance to act

The latest climate science and observations conclude that we are in a critical period for action on climate change.  If we fail to make the necessary changes to significantly reduce emissions now, then catastrophic climate change will be unavoidable.

While these measures may seem drastic, they are a bare minimum of what is required according to the science.  A less drastic phase-out of coal could have been possible if the world had started to act after the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, or in the decades since.  However, successive governments have instead sponsored and approved a massive expansion of coal mining.

Without a phase-out plan, almost 2 billion tonnes of thermal coal will be mined in NSW during the next decade, and NSW Treasury forecasts that 9.2 billion tonnes of thermal coal will be mined by 2056.  Mining and burning this amount of coal will be a major global contributor to climate change.

A competitive auction for mining rights over the ten year phase-out period is expected to raise over $7 billion, a significant proportion should go to assisting workers and regional economies transition to a post-fossil fuel era.

NSW Greens energy and resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham will introduce the Mining Amendment (Climate Protection – Phasing-out Coal Mining) Bill 2017, into NSW Parliament next Tuesday 7 March.

 

3 March 2017

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