The prospect of a weaker Renewable Energy Target may break the current stand-off on the RET, but it could leave Australia in an even worse position to tackle climate change, the Australian Conservation Foundation said. 

Labor said today it would back the Clean Energy Council’s compromise position on the RET.

“This compromise might stop jobs haemorrhaging from an industry that has been knee-capped by the Government, but it won’t secure the long-term future for clean energy in Australia,” said ACF’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.

“Climate change is not merely an environmental problem.  Refusing to take this problem seriously denies Australians the safety from extreme weather they deserve and expect.

“The Government has been trying to water down the RET for more than a year and in doing so has brought the industry to its knees.  The big drop in new investment in clean energy in Australia is a problem entirely of the Government’s own making.

“Negotiating away serious growth prospects for the clean energy industry, as the Government has done in the last 12 months, isn’t going to position Australia well in the decades ahead.

ACF’s report on Australia’s biggest climate polluters, released last month, shows we need to quickly unshackle our economy from its reliance on old, polluting coal-fired power stations.

“If the Government didn’t spend so much time putting the interests of a handful of big polluting energy companies ahead of the interests of the community, which loves and wants clean energy, we would never have had this confidence-sapping stand-off over the RET.

“A 2014 report by the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Climate Institute and WWF-Australia, based on modelling by Jacobs, showed weakening the RET would only benefit the owners of polluting coal power plants, at the expense of households.

“It’s good Labor is talking about increasing the RET if it is elected.  The challenge for the Abbott Government and the ALP is to develop a long term plan to allow renewable energy development to reach its potential in this country so we can hand over a safe climate to future generations,” she said.

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