Labor coal announcement will undermine govt’s climate credentials

Yallourn.jpgMEDIA RELEASE: 1 June 2018

Today’s announcement by the Andrews government that it will extend the licenses of the Latrobe Valley’s major power plants undermines its credentials on climate change and raises the potential that Victoria’s transition to a low carbon future will stall.

“In the 21st century, with what we know about climate science and the imperative to transition as rapidly as possible to 100% renewables, any announcement to keep coal fired power stations open can only be bad news for the climate” said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker.

“Rather than extending existing licenses to allow for rehabilitation, a better option would have been to separate the licenses and issue a stand alone licence for the rehabilitation.

Given that the Latrobe Valley Community will be living with the outcome of this process for decades to come, it is essential that rehabilitation be adequately funded and done well. It is also essential that the government ensures there is proper consultation with the community of the Latrobe Valley, and a long rehabilitation period – as enshrined in today’s announcement - will mean there is certainty for workers employed to manage the rehabilitation.”

“We do appreciate that a definite timeline for closure and minimum of 5 years notice allows the state to plan for an orderly transition to low emission energy. This also improves job security for workers employed in the industry”.

However, Friends of the Earth says that the government needs to bring forward coal closure dates to live up to its rhetoric on climate change and meet the legislated target of zero-net emissions by 2050.

“Victoria must bring forward the closure dates of existing power stations to be able to do our part in reducing global greenhouse emissions.”

“We welcome the fact that the government has given a clear timeline for the end of brown coal generation in Victoria. The Coalition, in contrast are proposing keeping coal fired power open for longer, which is an irresponsible position to take.”

“The EPA is currently reviewing the licences of the coal fired power stations. It is essential that this process results in limits being placed on CO2 production and that emissions decline over time, on a trajectory recommended by climate scientists. The government’s decision to defer announcing emission reduction targets for 2025 and 2030 until after the state election means that there is an urgent need to get the EPA review right”.

Friends of the Earth say ramping up the Victorian Renewable Energy Target and rolling out energy storage is in the best interest of Victoria. 

“We need to keep ramping up renewable energy and energy storage options for the state. The Victorian Renewable Energy Target (the VRET) is our best mechanism to further develop renewables and highlights the need to meet our existing VRET targets early and then extend ambition,” said Pat Simons, FoE’s renewable energy campaigner.

Further comment

Cam Walker 0419 338 047