Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen announces carbon trading legislation

Australian “right-wing commentators” are pedalling a “fundamentally dishonest narrative” about the energy crisis in Europe, a Labor cabinet minister has said.

Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen said he’d “seen plenty” of these people attempting to blame energy shocks in the wake of the Ukraine war on a too-rapid transition to renewables.

“The price of gas in Europe is around nine times that of renewables, and yet some geniuses argue the problem is too much reliance on renewables,” Mr Bowen said on Monday.

“This is the latest catchcry of those who seek to deny and delay action in Australia, like we haven’t had enough denial and delay in Australia over the last ten years.”

Addressing the Australian Financial Review’s Energy and Climate Summit, Mr Bowen said this narrative about renewables was false and risked “taking hold” in Australia.

He said the European energy shocks were a result of a gas shortfall caused by the widespread withdrawal from Russian supplies in response to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Far from undermining the need to transition to renewables, the energy crisis underlines the need for a faster and more orderly transition,” Mr Bowen said.

“Wherein we manage the changing role of coal and gas generation by concerted efforts to expand renewable generation and storage.”

Mr Bowen said the industrial sector was poised to overtake electricity as Australia’s biggest source of emissions.

He used his speech to announce he will introduce legislation to parliament next month to set up a domestic crediting and trading scheme for the nation’s largest carbon emitters.

The scheme would reward these companies with tradeable credits if they reduce their greenhouse gas emissions below agreed limits.

It forms part of Labor’s commitment to reform the so-called safeguard mechanism, which requires big polluters to keep their emissions at or below baselines set by the Clean Energy Regulator.

“(The scheme) creates a key financial incentive for ‘safeguard’ facilities to make the changes needed to reach net zero emissions by 2050,” Mr Bowen said.

A draft version of the legislation opened for consultation from Monday.

The Albanese government will aim to have the Bill become law in Autumn next year to allow the reforms to start July 1 2023.

Mr Bowen pressed the Coalition to support the legislation, saying the previous government had accepted a recommendation to establish such a scheme but “never got around to actually doing it”.

He said Australia’s large carbon emitters will have to wait “several years” before they can potentially access international credits to offset domestic pollution in order to meet their requirements under the safeguard mechanism.

Mr Bowen said the Albanese government’s position hadn’t changed.

“Any move to provide access to international credits for this purpose would need to be accompanied by strict requirements to ensure real abatement that can be counted in Australia’s 43% emissions reduction target,” he said.

“Even strong advocates of the use of international credits recognise that we are several years off being able to assert that these requirements can be met.”

Mr Bowen’s speech comes as an independent review led by former chief scientist Ian Chubb examines the integrity of Australia’s carbon crediting schemes.

The panel is due to provide its advice to the federal government by the end of the year.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *