June 26, 2018

Protest at Parliament to condemn Turnbull’s destructive National Energy Guarantee


Tuesday 26 June                 

  • Leading environment groups and Smart Energy Council declare NEG is unsupportable in its current form
  • NEG locks in woefully inadequate pollution reduction target for the electricity sector until 2030
  • Hundreds gather on Parliament House lawn calling for more ambitious action on climate change

Environmental supergroup the #Repower alliance, will hold an epic sprint race between polluting coal and clean energy on the lawn of Parliament House today, declaring that the Turnbull government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG) is unsupportable in its current form.

The race coincides with the last federal sitting week before the critical COAG meeting of Energy Ministers  to negotiate the NEG in Sydney in August.

“We’re here today to let the Turnbull government know Australians won’t stand by quietly while they push an anti-clean energy policy that lets big polluters damage our climate, reef and communities,” said the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Climate Campaigner Suzanne Harter.

“Australia’s current 2030 target is among the weakest of any advanced economy, yet we are already bearing the brunt of climate damage through higher incidence of extreme weather events, bushfires, flooding and the death of vast portions of the Great Barrier Reef.”

“In its current form, the NEG is deliberately designed to destroy renewables,” said Smart Energy Council CEO John Grimes.

“The NEG will lock in more polluting coal and will lead to virtually zero new renewables projects to be built until 2035. The only exceptions will be the Victorian and Queensland state targets that are easily axed.

“If the National Energy Guarantee does not deliver a substantial increase in renewable energy investment, it should not be supported by State Governments.

“Unless the NEG ensures Australia does its fair share of emissions reductions to keep global temperature rises well below 2 degrees, it should not be supported.”

“The Coalition’s emissions target for the electricity sector is irresponsible. The design of the NEG means renewable energy share of electricity production would be lower by 2030 than if the government did nothing. If other countries were so unambitious, the world would be facing 3 to 4 degrees of warming this century,” said Deputy CEO of 350.org Glen Klatovsky.

“In the face of such serious threats, it’s appalling that Australia’s only climate policy currently under consideration is a debate within the Coalition between low ambition and no ambition on climate change.”

“This is a key test of the federal government and opposition’s climate credentials. State governments like Victoria, South Australia and Queensland who have been doing the heavy lifting on the clean energy transition need to hold firm and reject the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) unless the Prime Minister makes major changes,” said GetUp’s Climate Justice Co-Director Miriam Lyons.

Key requirements to ensure the NEG actually cuts carbon pollution, builds renewables, and brings down power bills:

  1. Climate-safe: Establish an emissions target for 2030 and a trajectory for the NEG that is consistent with Australia’s commitment to limit global warming to 1.5-2°C and commitment to reach net zero emissions economy-wide well before 2050.
  2. Certain and bankable: Insert a provision in the National Electricity Laws and national legislation that requires all future targets to be stronger than the previous target.
  3. Easy to scale up: Ensure there is a clear notice period to change the emissions reduction target and make it three years not five years, and reviewable every year.
  4. A floor, not a ceiling: Ensure there is no barrier to states, territories and organisations making their renewable energy investments ‘additional’ to the NEG.
  5. Evidence-based: Ensure that the electricity sector emissions targets are based on robust independent advice such as that of the Climate Change Authority.
  6. Fair: Do not provide an exclusion for emissions intensive trade exposed (EITE) industries, and make the registry transparent to help prevent big power companies ripping off consumers.
  7. Builds renewables here: Retailers should not be able to offset their pollution by purchasing credits in Australia or overseas to meet the emissions requirement.