Party’s climate policy also proposes a new public authority, Renew Australia, and a government-owned energy retailer
— The Greens will propose 2030 as the cut-off point for thermal coal exports, and the shutdown date for Australia’s fleet of coal-fired power stations, in the party’s new climate and energy policy heading into the federal election.
With Labor expected to unveil the remaining elements of its climate policy before next week’s budget, the Greens will on Thursday open the bidding on ambition, laying down markers for the policy bartering that could play out after the federal election in the event Labor wins power and the Greens remain significant crossbench players.
The new Greens policy proposes the creation of a new public authority, Renew Australia, to lead the transition to low emissions, and a new government-owned energy retailer with a mandate to deliver cheaper power.
The party is proposing to phase out thermal coal exports by setting a yearly limit on coal exports from 2020, a set of procedures that would require resources companies to secure permits at auction in order to export product.
The Greens say Renew Australia will determine the timetable for shutting down the coal fleet, but the policy scenarios accompanying its policy puts the cut-off point at 2030.
The policy also advocates for vehicle emissions standards “that lead up to a complete ban on new internal combustion vehicles by 2030”, and a 17% tax on “luxury fossil fuel cars” to help cover the costs of scrapping registration fees, import tariffs, GST and stamp duty on electric vehicles, “reducing the cost of electric vehicles by around 20%”.
The Greens policy comes as the Investor Group on Climate Change will also on Thursday release a new policy document setting out what institutional investors such as the major super funds see as the climate policy priorities for the Australian and New Zealand governments between now and 2022.
The IGCC says from an investor perspective, three areas require action over the next four years. The first is developing durable policies that will create a pathway to a net zero emissions economy.
The second is creating structures that allow the transition to be managed, including implementing stable policy, “using public sector finance to crowd in private sector investment” and pursuing mechanisms that allow a just transition for workers and business in carbon-intensive industries.
The third is implementing national climate change adaptation strategies and strengthening the governance regime, including mandating climate-related disclosure requirements for companies and investors.
Reflecting the impatience now endemic in the business and regulatory community after a decade of rancorous partisan warfare on climate change, the IGCC warns that investors are currently “exposed to systemic, climate-related physical, transition and litigation risks” – a message that also echoes a recent intervention by a deputy governor of Australia’s central bank.
Guy Debelle issued a stark warning in the middle of March that climate change poses risks to Australia’s financial stability, and he argued that warming needed to be thought of by policymakers and business as a trend and not a cyclical event.
The IGCC says a carbon price – implemented by Labor during the time of the Gillard government, and repealed by Tony Abbott in 2013, and still the epicentre of the partisan war – needs to be reinstated. “Pricing carbon embeds climate risk into the lifeblood of investment decisions,” the group says.
“If carbon is priced, the cost of pollution can’t be ignored. Development of a carbon market that is transparent, liquid – many participants and free flowing trade – and focused on achieving net zero emissions will enable investors to better anticipate and plan for future carbon risks”.
Labor has already released its policy for reducing emissions in the electricity sector and in the first instance will attempt to persuade the Liberals to revive their now abandoned national energy guarantee in an effort to achieve some bipartisanship. If that fails, it will pursue other measures.
Shortly, the opposition will unveil the rest of its climate change policy, expected to include a trading scheme for liable entities – big polluters emitting more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon a year; new vehicle emissions standards to bring down pollution in transport; and its final position on the use of international permits and Kyoto credits.
The Greens have disavowed using Kyoto credits, which is an accounting system that allows countries to count credits from exceeding their targets under the soon-to-be-obsolete Kyoto protocol periods against their Paris emissions reduction commitments for 2030.
The Morrison government will bank a 367-megatonne contribution from carryovers as part of its recently released carbon budget, which details the emissions reductions from various programs that will be required to meet the Paris target.
Labor has sent a number of public signals over recent weeks that it is unlikely to use Kyoto credits, but the opposition is expected to deploy international permits to help with the abatement task.
by Katharine Murphy | The Guardian