Nearly three quarters of Australian voters see climate change as a serious threat and want greater action from the next government according to recent opinion polls. And yet we have heard little about climate change from the major parties this federal election.
A federal candidate’s Forum at Rahamim Green Drinks will see Calare candidates address community concerns on climate, ecology, land and water, this Friday at 5:30pm, Busby St. In advance of the forum Bathurst Community Climate Action Network has received Calare candidate responses to their questionnaire on climate change and energy policy.
The first responder was Independent Senate Candidate Anthony Craig who says climate change is real and a threat to our way of life. He wants the carbon tax reviewed with funding to coal mining communities like Lithgow to change to new technologies. Craig says there should be no new coal mines, a domestic gas security bill and restoration of the clean energy fund.
Labor has promised to cut emissions by 45 per cent by 2030. Labor’s Jess Jennings says a price on carbon is by far the cheapest way of reducing carbon emissions. Labor would create an emissions trading scheme, which would put a cap on maximum emissions and enable big polluters to buy permits from low polluters. The exact details of the scheme are as yet unclear, except that it would be split in two, with one scheme for big polluters and another for electricity providers. Labor has promised 50 per cent by 2030, achieved in part by greater funding for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and by reversing Liberal cuts to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). Jennings proposes community power networks and believes Central NSW Renewable Energy Cooperative should be supported.
The Greens climate policies call for a complete phase out of fossil fuels with transition to 90% renewable energy generation by 2030 and doubling energy efficiency. Calare Candidate Delanie Sky says the Greens says this transition would be supported through the removal of fossil fuel subsidies for mining and levying offshore coal exports redirecting these funds to renewable energy. They plan a new $500 million and an authority tasked with planning and driving the transition to a new clean energy system to leverage $5 billion of construction in new energy generation over the next four years. $250 million would be directed to a Clean Energy Transition Fund to assist coal workers and communities with a just transition. They also recommend implementing pollution intensity standards to enable the gradual, staged closure of coal fired power stations, starting with Australia’s dirtiest — Hazelwood. The Greens oppose any no new coal or gas approvals, and no expansions of existing projects.
The National Party have not provided any response to BCCAN’s questionnaire but the Coalition Government enacted the following policies. The Coalition has committed to cut Australia’s emissions by 26 – 28% on 2005 levels by 2030 The Coalition set aside $2.55 billion between 2014 and 2017 for its direct action plan to pay polluters to reduce their emissions. The Coalition reduced the renewable energy to a target of 20 per cent by 2020.
Australia dropped 10 spots in the respected Yale Environment Performance Index in recent years, from third in 2014 to 13th in 2016. And the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions from electricity production rose between January and March 2016, according to the respected CEDEX quarterly report, continuing a trend since the carbon tax was repealed in 2014.
Members of the public are welcome to Green Drinks where all Candidates will have an opportunity to present their platform on climate change and energy at Rahamim Busby Street, Bathurst Friday from 5:30pm entry by donation $10.