Climate Change And Renewable Energy

Labor accepts the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity since the industrial revolution has increased average global temperatures, leading to climate change.

In November 2015 Labor announced the beginning of a consultation process to assess the appropriateness of the Climate Change Authority’s recommendation of a 45 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 (on 2005 levels). Consultations were held with industry, employers, unions and the community over a three month period and included 46 forums in 14 cities and towns, including in the Illawarra.

Following these consultations, Labor has committed to achieving a 45% reduction in pollution by 2030 (on 2005 levels).

A target of 26-28% by 2030 (on 2005 levels) - as proposed by the Abbott/Turnbull Government - would see Australia fall well short of the commitments made by the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and other European nations. That simply isn’t good enough.

Labor has a clear plan to combat climate change by getting Australia’s pollution levels back under control and ensuring that Australian business and workers are in the best position possible to benefit from the huge investment and job opportunities that come from a renewable energy and clean technology future.

This policy is underpinned by Labor’s fundamental commitment to fairness, ensuring that Australians are supported through this transition and no one is left behind. That’s why we have taken an approach that allows us to appropriately respond to economic circumstances, while also meeting long term environmental goals.

Our Climate Change Action Plan provides a pathway for an orderly transition to a low pollution economy through six key elements:

  1. Make Australia a Leading Renewable Energy Economy by ensuring that 50 per cent of the nation’s electricity is sourced from renewable energy by 2030, providing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation with more certainty and more flexibility with less red tape and more technology options, and developing new community power projects.

  2. Cleaner Power Generation ensuring that the transition in Australia’s electricity generation from old heavy polluting coal fired power stations to modern clean energy is an orderly transition, with concrete support for workers and communities.

  3. Build Jobs and Industry maximising the job opportunities from clean energy and clean technology, while also securing the future of critical Australian industries through a Strategic Industries Taskforce. This will be supported by a Strategic Industries Reserve Fund of $300 million to support the transition of key industries to 2020, including the steel industry.

  4. Cut Pollution through an Emissions Trading Scheme, placing a legal cap on pollution from large polluters through a cap and offsets scheme, while supporting industry by ensuring access to international carbon offsets.

  5. Capture Carbon on the Land by reinvigorating the Carbon Farming Initiative to encourage carbon storage on the land and in agriculture, and taking decisive action to deal with broad scale land clearing.

  6. Increased Energy Efficiency doubling Australia’s national energy productivity by 2030 and implementing new emissions standards for motor vehicles to cut pollution on our roads.

Labor’s plan will provide the ambitious pathway for an orderly transition to a low pollution economy that Australia needs.