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Renewable energy - the latest Howard government greenhouse failure.

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KELVIN THOMSON Media Release from the Shadow Minister for Sustainability, the Environment and Heritage Friday 16 January 2004 RENEWABLE ENERGY - THE LATEST HOWARD GOVERNMENT GREENHOUSE FAILURE Labor understands the Government will today release the so-called "independent review" of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET), which will recommend little or no change. It is rumoured the target will be changed from a fixed gigawatt hour figure to a 'real' 2%, based on actual, rather than projected, electricity demand. This doesn't represent any increase at all. It merely undoes the damage which was done by converting the 2% to 9500 GWh when the target was first introduced in 2001. Since 2001, the growth in electricity demand has seen the target effectively reduced to zero. This ‘business as usual’ recommendation is despite the fact the overwhelming number submissions to the review, which was chaired by Grant Tambling, former Liberal Senator for the Northern Territory, supported a substantial increase in the target. If the Howard Government was serious about tackling climate change, it would significantly increase MRET. While other countries are taking the lead in developing renewable energy industries and technologies, Australia is falling behind. The Government's ridiculously modest target, combined with its reluctance to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the recent axing of emissions trading and the cut of funding for renewable energy research and development, shows the Howard Government is not serious about climate change. A negligible change to MRET will do nothing to stop the flight of capital investment in renewable energy projects overseas, let alone address the broader impacts of climate change, to which report after report attests. Labor's commitment to an additional 5% of renewable energy in Australia's electricity supply mix will help Australia meet its Kyoto target, create thousands of jobs, attract investment, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help position Australia for a carbon constrained future. The Howard Government approach to energy policy is outdated and environmentally irresponsible. Labor believes the sustainable energy sector is a growth industry of the future. For Further Information: Kelvin Thomson MP Phone: 03 9350 5777 Mobile: 0419 594 882 Gavan O’Neill Phone: 03 9350 5777 Mobile: 0417 118146