The energy sector sits at the heart of Australia’s climate pollution problem and its solution.
In response to the release of the federal government’s technology roadmap discussion paper, Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said:
“The government’s technology roadmap discussion paper has Australia speeding into a dirty future, dependent on dangerous technologies for many decades to come.
“After last summer’s fires and smoke haze it should be clear to all Australians that climate change is here. We have long moved past the point of considering gas, which is mainly methane, as a transition fuel.
“The heavily polluting gas industry is not going to help Australia tackle the climate crisis.
“As long as the Morrison government continues to contaminate the few climate policies it has by using them to extend and expand the use of coal and gas in Australia, any tech roadmap will be limited in its ability to tackle climate change.
“The government cannot claim to be technology neutral while it continues to pump billions into subsidising the coal and gas industries through fuel tax credits and other schemes.
“The energy sector sits at the heart of Australia’s climate pollution problem and its solution. It is critical Australia moves away from our reliance on fossil fuels.
“Australia has some of the best renewable energy resources in the world – the enthusiastic uptake of rooftop solar in recent years shows Australians want their power to come clean.
“We are in the fortunate position of not needing to waste more time and money on unproven technologies, like carbon capture, or unsafe ones, like nuclear.
“Despite decades of research and $1.3bn spent from the public purse, carbon capture and storage is still unproven as a secure, long-term method to stop climate pollution from entering the atmosphere.
“Nuclear is a dangerous distraction and has no place in our energy future. A CSIRO AEMO 2019-20 report found power from much-hyped ‘small modular reactors’ would be two to four times more expensive in Australia per kilowatt hour than wind and solar.
“Australia should pursue a hydrogen industry powered by 100 per cent clean, renewable energy. Hydrogen should not be used as a way to extend fossil fuels’ use-by date.
“Renewable hydrogen offers an attractive zero emissions energy source that will not cause air pollution or wreck the climate. Falling technology costs mean renewable hydrogen is also fast approaching cost parity with the fuel sources it is seeking to replace.
“Technologies that improve energy efficiency, help mainstream electric and zero emissions vehicles and support green hydrogen are all good value and worth pursuing.
“The release of this discussion paper comes as Energy Minister Angus Taylor has accepted the bulk of the recommendations of Grant King’s review of the Emissions Reduction Fund, which include altering the mandate of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to allow them to promote coal and gas projects.
“If the Government wants to reduce the likelihood of more devastating summers like the one Australians have so recently experienced, it would draw up a roadmap to rapidly phase out our reliance on coal, oil and gas and help affected communities with the transition.”