Tag Archives: Don Harwin

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