In response to news the Morrison Government plans to change the mandates of Australia’s clean energy agencies to make them invest in gas and carbon capture, the Australian Conservation Foundation’s climate program manager Gavan McFadzean said:

“Minister Angus Taylor must not fossilize the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

“The leaked federal government plan appears to lock Australia into a high emissions, high cost, jobs-poor energy system that will slow efforts to transition to clean energy.

“The CEFC and ARENA have been great Australian success stories, growing renewable energy in Australia and making returns for the taxpayer.

“Energy Minister Angus Taylor is trying to force the CEFC to invest in gas, even though gas projects are risky investments and in many instances gas is as polluting as coal.

“Minister Taylor wants to change the definition of ‘low emissions technology’ in the CEFC’s investment mandate and instruct it to invest in gas, a fossil fuel made up mainly of methane.

“While renewable projects funded by the CEFC deliver roughly a 7% return on investment, Minister Taylor wants to see gas projects funded even if they’re expected to make a loss.

“ACF is proud to have come up with the idea of a Clean Energy Finance Corporation in our 2010 report, Funding the transition to a clean economy.

 “These proposed changes would compromise the integrity and independence of the CEFC and ARENA, while giving a financial gift to the gas industry.

“The Morrison Government says the Technology Investment Roadmap will be the centrepiece of its long-term emissions reduction strategy, but using the roadmap to push investment in dangerous fossil fuels is entirely contrary to what’s needed to cut emissions. 

“There are indications Australia’s central climate policy, the Emissions Reduction Fund, will be subverted with a new push for it to support carbon capture and storage. 

“The Morrison Government refuses to commit to an ambitious target for the roadmap, even though all states and territories and every major industry group backs net zero by 2050.

“We are very concerned by reports the Federal Government will also pursue deals with state and territory governments to get states to contribute more gas to the grid each year in exchange for federal government funding for new power transmission lines.

“This is essentially a bribe to state governments to open up to gas and fracking.

“These measures put together – the gas-focused Technology Roadmap, changes to the ERF, refusal to set an ambitious target and subversion of the CEFC and ARENA – all point Australia in the wrong direction on climate change.

ACF calls on parliamentarians – especially opposition MPs and Senators, crossbenchers and moderate Liberals – to oppose moves to compromise the integrity of Australia’s renewable energy agencies.”

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