Victoria’s Emissions Backflips Threaten Renewable Energy

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The Victorian Government has reneged on election commitments of a 20% carbon emission reduction target and capping emissions from new coal fired power stations.
The carbon emissions reduction target has been slashed from 20 per cent to just 5 per cent.
The news comes just a week after The Age revealed the Baillieu government is preparing a campaign to promote development of Victoria’s brown coal reserves.
Brown coal features heavily in Victoria’s energy mix and is one of the most emissions-intensive forms of the fossil fuel. In 2009, greenhouse gas emissions from energy industries contributed 56% (68.45 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) of Victoria’s net greenhouse gas emissions; with electricity generation responsible for 95.3% of that figure.
Commenting on the emissions reduction target backflip, Environment Victoria said the decision would also send clean energy investment and jobs interstate.
“With today’s decision the Baillieu Government has shown that either they don’t understand the threat climate change presents, or they are ignoring it. Either way it’s an irresponsible decision environmentally and economically,” stated Environment Victoria CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.
“Premier Baillieu has caved in to the demands of a handful of polluters instead of acting to protect the environment and the public interest.”
The Baillieu government claims following the 5 per cent target set by the Federal Government will save Victorians $2 billion.
Just hours after the emissions target announcement, the government also reneged on an election commitment to cap greenhouse gas emissions from new coal-fired power plants according to The Age.
Additionally, Victorian Climate Change Minister Ryan Smith said he would be reviewing other state climate programs. The State Government is also examining feed in tariffs paid to households installing solar power systems in Victoria.
Recent polling commissioned by Environment Victoria found just 7 per cent of Victorians want more coal-fired power stations while 78% wanted more renewable energy, and 82 per cent wanted more support for energy efficiency.
Update: While the Baillieu government may be turning its back on capping emissions from new coal-fired power plants, the Obama administration has effectively blocked the construction of any new plants by introducing rules earlier today to slash emissions reports The Guardian.