– by Sophia Joyce
The Australian government is cutting all funds to small-scale household solar power and wind turbines, opting to focus taxpayer’s money on large-scale solar power and discontinuing household solar.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described Rottnest Island’s and other wind turbines as “visually awful” and may have “potential health impacts.” This has impacted how the government invests in clean energy.
The Liberal government has told the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), an organisation designed to reduce our carbon emissions, to only support “new and emerging technologies.”
Tony Abbott says that this is a government that supports renewable power but wants to make energy prices cheaper.
“It is our policy to abolish the CEFC because we think the projects stack up economically, but while it still exists it should be investing in new and emerging technologies – certainly not existing wind farms.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten urges Tony Abbott to stop his war on clean energy.
“The guidelines now being proposed by Mr Abbott mean that basically the only thing the CEFC could invest in is flying saucers, because anything that is any closer to development than that, Mr Abbott has conveniently saying is an established technology.”
Rather than investing in wind and solar energy, Mr Abbott has set his sights on coal declaring that it is “good for humanity.”
ANU Climate Change Deputy Director Dr Frank Jotzo says that locking in Australia’s reliance on coal is short sighted and would be putting the Australian Economy on a downward trajectory.
Mr Shorten says “the rest of the world is moving towards taking real action on climate change, yet we’ve got a government who’s slammed the nation into reverse gear and retreating away from action.”
Mr Abbott fights back saying “energy is what sustains our prosperity, and coal is the world’s principal energy source and it will be for many decades to come.”
The Climate Commission report that was released this week states that Australia remains one of the world’s highest per-capita emitter of greenhouse gases and needs a reduction target of 40%-60% by 2030.
The federal government has delayed its climate change targets till August this year.
Tony Abbott is not going to speculate in advance of a decision, but he gave assurance the figure reached by the government would be a “strong” one.