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Govt renewable energy failure costing Australia

Govt renewable energy failure costing Australia dearly

The Australian Greens today called on the federal government to support an amendment lifting the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET), or risk more investment going offshore, hampering the task of cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Australian Greens energy spokesperson Senator Christine Milne said the absence of a comprehensive integrated energy, industry and employment policy for Australia which maximises jobs in a carbon constrained world, has led to ad-hoc decision making, resulting in job losses, increased greenhouse gas emissions and industry going offshore.

"The federal government has badly let down Australia's renewable energy industry, failing to support it while it backs coal and promotes nuclear power - neither of which can seriously reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Senator Milne said in Canberra.

"The government's own Tambling inquiry report three years ago recommended increasing the target but the government has stubbornly refused to budge. The industry has already met the 2% target for 2010 and without more support companies are cancelling projects in Australia and heading offshore. Recent losses include Novera Energy, Seapower Pacific, and Tasmania's Roaring 40s. As well, numerous Australian renewable projects have been shelved.

"I will move in the Senate to increase the MRET from the current target of 9,500 GWh by 2010 to 20,000 GWh by 2020, consistent with the Tambling recommendation.

"This is an absolute minimum. The Greens would prefer a much more comprehensive response to reduce emissions. We need to price carbon to reflect the real cost of fossil fuels and to implement an emission trading system, mandatory energy efficiency measures and a much higher target MRET.

"It is clear that the government is incapable of embracing a plan for deep cuts but surely it should embrace the conservative recommendation of its own inquiry. The Greens' amendment will give it the opportunity to do so.

"Climate change is upon us. There is no time to waste. Despite this, the government has no strategy to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by the 60% minimum needed by the year 2050. The very least it can do is lift the MRET."

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