The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has called on the Turnbull Government to embrace sensible compromises put forward by state governments that could salvage the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) as a workable scheme to cut climate pollution.
ACF Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said there was clear evidence that as currently constituted the NEG would not drive the clean energy investment required to put significant downward pressure on climate pollution and electricity prices over the next decade.
Ms O’Shanassy said the Turnbull Government could easily fix this by lifting the ludicrously weak pollution target currently proposed for the NEG. But if it is not responsible enough to make this change, then the Turnbull Government should agree to alter the NEG so a future and more sensible federal government, of any political stripe, can smoothly increase the target.
“It is very hard for those of us who care deeply about our planet to countenance any scheme that would do nothing to cut climate pollution. These changes would go some way to ensuring the NEG could be salvaged into something workable in the future,” Ms O’Shanassy said.
“We need a workable compromise. There will be no certainty in energy and climate policy until pollution cuts are comparable with the action needed to halt global warming.
“The NEG is nobody’s preferred policy. Many in our community have been asked to take another policy leap of faith after many better options were cut down by the reckless climate sceptics that poison our national debate.
“If we are to salvage a solution on the NEG for our climate then the Turnbull Government must make amendments. We are fast running out of time to make the pollution cuts needed to ensure we have a safe climate. A responsible government would recognise this and act.
“As a starting point the NEG’s pollution target should be contained in regulation, not legislation. Targets should be reviewed every three years and only made stronger as a result. And state governments should be able to meet their clean energy ambitions in addition to the NEG.
“Prime Minister Turnbull must listen to the concerns of the states and embrace these reasonable compromises. The do-nothing, too-late 2024 target review put forward by the Turnbull Government as an alternative is aimed only at giving the appearance of concession to genuine concerns. It is not real compromise in the interest of our safe climate.”