Tuesday 22nd Aug, 2017

Strong response to Turnbull’s climate scheme

Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Creative Commons / Ash Carter
Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Creative Commons / Ash Carter

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Low Emissions Target scheme has won the support of major businesses, and could win over the Labor Party, if it ends the long-running battle over emissions reduction policy, Bill Shorten has said.

Turnbull this week announced a Low Emissions Target plan, ahead of the release of Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s review of the energy sector this Friday.

The LET is similar to the existing Renewable Energy Target, but would allow for the inclusion of “low-emission” fossil-fuel energy production. This would mean “clean coal” plants, gas plants, and carbon capture storage plants would be able to contribute to the Low Emissions Target scheme, rather than just renewable energy sources.

The proposal has been welcomed by businesses, with companies like Glencore backing the move. It has also been relatively successful, so far, in Canberra, with Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce in favour, and Labor not ruling it out.

“It is vastly more likely to get a coal-fired power station built to provide baseload power under something like an LET,” Joyce told reporters.

Meanwhile, Labor environment spokesperson Mark Butler told ABC Radio the party was keeping an open mind to the plan, but would play close attention to the specifics before agreeing to any plans.

“We haven’t dismissed it,” Butler said, “what we’ve done is to characterise it as the second best option.” The Opposition maintains an Emissions Intensity Scheme would be the best option, but the Turnbull Government has rejected this proposal.

“We are acutely aware that there is an energy crisis in this country which needs a constructive, mature approach, particularly from the two major parties in the parliament,” Butler said.