Tasmanian and NSW Labor parties back ambitious renewables target

Australian Labor Party (ALP)Australian Labor Party (ALP)

NSW Labor has used its annual conference to call for a decisive renewables target, bringing Australia into line with international efforts.

Delegates at both the NSW and Tasmanian Labor Conferences held over the weekend kept up the pressure on the Federal Labor Party to stick with a carbon price policy.

They urged the party’s leadership to take immediate steps to meet the emissions target outlined by Australia’s Climate Change Authority (CCA).

The CCA, an independent body advising the Federal Government, has recommended a minimum carbon emissions reduction of 19 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020.

Australia’s current bipartisan target remains to cut 2000 emissions by at least 5 per cent, by the end of the decade.

Boost for solar, wind and renewables target

The party voted on Saturday 29 July to keep clean energy front and centre of NSW Labor’s climate policies.

Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten at the NSW state conference where renewable energy targets were outlined.

Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten at the NSW state conference, where NSW and Tasmanian state delegates put pressure on Federal Labor to stick to carbon reduction policies. Image: NSW Labor Party

The vote opposed any reduction in the national Renewable Energy Target, which mandates a minimum supply of 41,000 gigawatt-hours of wind, solar power and other renewable energy sources by 2020.

Solar storage solutions and wind power are fundamental to any climate change policy that can reduce Australia’s reliance on fossil fuels.

Tasmanian conference delegates joined their NSW partners in backing the motion to pursue ‘early adoption’ of targets designed to slash emissions levels set in 2000 by 40-60 per cent by 2030.

The Finkel Review and beyond

While the Federal Government has already backed 49 of the Finkel Review’s 50 recommendations, it has been reluctant to adopt a more ambitious carbon reduction target.

And while the Labor Opposition backs the introduction of an emissions trading scheme, it is yet to set a clear target of its own.

Tasmania’s state Labor conference matched NSW in supporting the 19 per cent reduction goal for carbon emissions. However, this goal is yet to become official ALP policy.

With both major federal parties holding back, it’s been left to the states – notably South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT – to push for further research into effective renewable initiatives and climate change policies.