Australia needs a national plan to get to net zero climate pollution well before 2050.

The Australian Conservation Foundation is alarmed by reports that the Finkel review will recommend a so-called ‘Clean Energy Target’ (CET) that would allow for gas or even coal-fired power stations.

“A clean energy target that allows burning coal or gas is a lie. It’s not low emissions if it includes polluting fuels,” ACF Climate Change and Clean Energy Program Manager Gavan McFadzean said.

“If a “Clean Energy Target” with a threshold of 0.7 tonnes per megawatt hour allows coal or gas to be classified as ‘low emission’ then we’re kidding ourselves. It’s farcical. Australians won’t stand by and allow this to happen.

“A decade ago Prime Minister John Howard and his Climate Change Minister Malcolm Turnbull proposed a more ambitious clean energy target than this.

“If a CET policy is set at this high level it would be nothing more than a move to placate climate deniers in the Turnbull government and get global warming off the parliament’s agenda. That’s not good enough and we’d be calling on Labor, the Greens and the crossbench to oppose it.

“If we don’t shift the economy to renewable energy rapidly it will be everyday Australians who pay the price with more pollution, heatwaves, floods and bushfires.

“Any CET that locks in this inadequate target must be stopped. We understand the business community and most Australians are desperate to break the deadlock on climate policy but that cannot result in the bar being set so low that it means a dead Reef and extreme weather events fuelled by runaway climate change.

“The reason we are in this energy mess is because Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott never had a plan to reduce pollution and shift the system from coal and gas to wind and solar.

“Memo to COAG – the reason the energy market is broken is due to inaction on shifting to renewables. Any further delays in providing a national plan and policy certainty will increase pollution, drive up prices and make the system less reliable.

“We need a national plan to get to net zero climate pollution well before 2050. Without that we won’t keep global warming below the critical 1.5 degree threshold, necessary to protect parts of the Great Barrier Reef and avoid dangerous global warming,” Mr McFadzean said.

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