‘A potentially useful first step’ is the best way to sum up CCL Australia’s response to the Chief Scientist’s proposal for a Clean Energy Target (CET).
If Labor can support it and if the benchmark (the amount of CO2 per megawatt hour) is set low enough then, investment may begin to flow again, mostly to low emissions generators. It could provide an element of bipartisanship, create more certainty and inject some much-needed positivity into the climate and energy debate.
It strives to be technology-agnostic (not favouring any particular form of generation). And it may give the PM and Minister Frydenberg some respite from their critics in the Coalition. The CET is only a first step because the rate of emissions reduction will most likely be too slow and the unpriced external costs of fossil fuels will remain as “hidden subsidies” to coal and gas. The work of CCL remains vital for three main reasons:
- Carbon Fee and Dividend ensures the full costs of all fossil fuels are included in their price; this makes a truly technology-agnostic solution possible.
- The CET only applies to the electricity sector, whereas Fee and Dividend would reduce carbon emissions across the whole economy, as well as encouraging other economies to do the same, through border adjustments.
- We will need deeper and faster emissions reductions than CET can deliver, even if the benchmark is set low. We would urge future governments to add Fee and Dividend on top of the CET.
Our advocacy for an effective carbon price and our efforts to build bipartisanship remain as important as ever. We have much to offer and lots to do! Rod Mitchell National Coordinator, CCL Australia