The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) remains deeply concerned that the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) will lock-in failure on climate change, despite minor concessions from the Turnbull Government in its latest design document.
The final design document for the Commonwealth elements of the NEG confirms the Turnbull Government will implement a woefully inadequate 26 per cent climate pollution cut from electricity generation by 2030 ‑ a target that puts undue pressure on other industries, hinders clean energy deployment, and is out of step with the action needed to halt climate damage.
While there will be a review in 2024, it is designed in a way that makes it difficult to significantly ramp-up ambition to reduce climate pollution before 2030. The final design document states that annual targets will be set in Commonwealth legislation out to 2030. Review or no review in 2024—changing those legislated ‘do nothing’ targets would not be certain or immediate.
ACF Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said: ““The NEG is reprehensible when it comes to action on climate change and drives investment in clean energy off the cliff for at least a decade.
“Climate damage is accelerating. Our communities are facing more extreme droughts, heat and floods. Our Great Barrier Reef is getting hammered by warming oceans and coral bleaching.
“We need real climate leadership from our elected representatives. State governments and the Federal Parliament must demand more from the Turnbull Government to ensure the NEG is truly ambitious and more flexible before signing on.
“The Commonwealth’s own modelling shows that the woeful NEG target will achieve almost no additional cuts to climate pollution to 2030. There is no way this target can stand – it should be changed right now.
“Waiting until 2024 to review a target everybody already knows is inadequate just delays the urgent action needed to halt Australia’s rising climate pollution.
“And locking a weak target in legislation is a recipe for continuing uncertainty. We must take the politics out of climate change and allow future governments to make emissions targets more ambitious without another major legislative fight.
“We note the Turnbull Government is now proposing a more modest offset regime that allows less ways for industry to escape their pollution reduction obligations. But we are concerned that unnecessary carve outs for trade-focused heavy industry remain.”
To cut carbon pollution, build clean energy, and bring down power bills, the NEG needs to be: