The Australian Conservation Foundation has urged parliamentarians not to undermine Australia’s successful clean energy bank by changing its mandate to invest in dirty, dangerous energy options like gas, coal and nuclear.

The government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation Amendment (Grid Reliability Fund) Bill, which would give Energy Minister Angus Taylor power to direct the CEFC to invest in technologies that are not renewable and make investments that would not generate a financial return, is listed for debate today in the House of Representatives.

Some government MPs and Senators want the CEFC to be able to fund coal and nuclear.

“Undermining the popular and successful Clean Energy Finance Corporation would be a massive own goal,” said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“Talking up nuclear and new coal-fired power plants is a dangerous distraction from facing up to Australia’s very real energy challenges and choices.

“There is nothing clean about the fuel behind the Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters, which produces waste that remains radioactive for tens of thousands of years.

“There is no such thing as clean coal and the CEFC wouldn’t be considered a trusted investment partner if it was expected to invest in this outdated, dirty technology.

“Despite the urgent need to cut climate pollution – which is why the CEFC was established – no country in the world is choosing to set up a nuclear industry from scratch.

“When it comes to climate action, nuclear power is a dead end. The reactors that exist are expensive and risky; the promised new reactors don’t exist. Nuclear is not a credible climate response and has been repeatedly rejected by the market and the community.

“To spruik nuclear as the world approaches the tenth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster is an act of wilful blindness and political convenience – a fission fig leaf for politicians stuck in a previous century.

“Australia’s energy future is renewable, not radioactive.”

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

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