Australia should aim for 100 per cent safe energy – which means excluding coal and nuclear from the mix, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced the appointment of a new Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, who says he has a vision for zero emissions electricity generation – with no coal, oil or natural gas – but he is open to nuclear.

“ACF welcomes the new Chief Scientist Dr Finkel and is encouraged by his enthusiasm for renewable energy and his vision for a world without coal,” said Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.

“We agree with Dr Finkel that Australia should become a zero emission economy, but we disagree with him that nuclear power could be part of the mix.

“Australia needs an energy mix that is 100 per cent safe.  Neither coal nor nuclear are safe, so we should not be planning a future around them.

“Clearly Australia can’t get over its coal addiction overnight, but we can get to zero emissions and the governments needs to become much more involved in the discussion around energy transition.

“At a recent energy forum hosted by ACF participants from energy companies, superannuation funds, financial services companies and investors agreed the early closure of Australian coal-fired power stations was inevitable and the federal government needed to plan for this transition.

“Today 61 prominent Australians have released an open letter calling on world leaders to put an international moratorium on new coal mines.

“Resorting to the drug dealer’s defence – saying that if we don’t sell coal to developing nations, someone else will – is not moral or responsible.

“Australia has a moral responsibility to help our developing neighbours leap-frog over dirty coal, straight to clean renewable energy.”

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910, tom.arup@acf.org.au; or Toby Halligan on 0419 403 016, toby.halligan@acf.org.au For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@acf.org.au.