Amongst state energy ministers, Liberal, Matt Kean has arguably the most ambitious climate change abatement plan that he says is entirely consistent with conservatism and he is not afraid to criticise the Federal Government for pandering to the fossil fuel sector with its ‘gas-led recovery’. Interviewed by Mike Seccombe for the Saturday Paper, 12/12 he says:
….. I’m looking to take action on climate change, not in spite of the fact I’m a conservative, but because I’m a conservative. I’m looking to protect our environment, because I believe that conservatives have an obligation to hand our planet to our kids better than we found it.
Today the cheapest way to generate electricity is not coal, gas or nuclear; it’s a combination of wind, solar, pumped hydro and batteries.
And that’s not me saying that. It’s the CSIRO saying it. It’s AEMO [the Australian Energy Market Operator, set up by the Council of Australian Governments to plan our energy future] saying it. It’s the market saying that.
We couldn’t agree more. Under his leadership, the NSW Parliament passed legislation last month, almost unanimously, to support:
- 12 gigawatts of large-scale renewable energy generation
- 2 gigawatts of hydro storage
- funding for green hydrogen
This is expected to:
- attract $32 billion in private investment
- create 6,300 construction jobs and 2,800 operational jobs, mostly in regional areas, and thousands of new jobs by 2042
- reduce power bills by ~$130 for households and $440 for businesses each year
- generate $1.5 billion in rent for landholders for hosting new infrastructure in renewable energy zones
- avoid blackouts and price spikes when the big coal-fired generators in NSW close between 2028 and 2035
The NSW target for emissions reductions by 2030 is 35% compared to 26-28% at the Federal level.
The Morrison Government, is looking pretty much like the emperor with no clothes, concerned only with the flow of donations into its coffers from the fossil fuel sector.
The PM’s pretense that his plan is responsible for meeting the far-too-low national target is now seen as a bad joke by fellow conservative Boris Johnson who excluded him from the UK-initiated climate action summit this weekend. We all know that without the states taking action, our 2030 target would be shot.
As these Govt. tables show, Australia has reduced emissions by a mere 3 percent on last year even with the massive economic slowdown from Covid in the last quarter of 2019-20 and, since 2012, emissions have been flat-lining.
The Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: June 2020 shows big increases in the stationary energy sector from 1990 to end June 2020:
In percentage terms, the stationary energy excluding electricity sector has experienced the largest increase between 1990 and the year to June 2020 (55.5 percent or 36.6 Mt CO2-e). Other sectors for which emissions have increased since 1990 include:
- fugitive emissions (38.6 percent or 13.9 Mt CO2-e) – where emissions were relatively stable until 2015 when emissions increased strongly as a result of the growth of the LNG industry offset in 2020 by carbon capture and storage and a reduction in flaring activities;
- transport (53.0 percent or 32.5 Mt CO2-e) – where steadily increasing emissions over the time series have been reversed due to the impacts of the COVID pandemic;
- electricity (32.4 percent or 42.0 Mt CO2-e) – where emissions had been increasing steadily to a peak in 2009 followed by a decline due primarily to the increasing generation from renewable sources; and,
- industrial processes and product use (31.0 percent or 8.1 Mt CO2-e).