Frydenberg digs in: 45% emissions target “reckless,” “extreme”

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Frydenberg says Labor’s emissions reduction target of 45% is “recklessly high,” and at “extremes of the debate.” He must have missed Macron’s speech.

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Federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg has again labelled the opposition Labor Party’s stated emissions reduction target of 45 per cent as “recklessly high,” and designed to satisfy those at the “extremes of the debate.”

The comments, made at the Energy Users Association of Australia Future Thinking conference in Melbourne on Wednesday, comes amid an intense debate about climate policy, particularly in the energy sector.

More and more analysts say Australia will sail past the government’s stated 2030 target of a 26 per cent cut in electricity emissions by 2030 as early as 2020, and could easily achieve a 45 per cent cut over the following decade.

Indeed, the Climate Change Authority, the independent body set up by the Lsbor government to advice on climate policy options, recommended a country-wide target of 40 to 60 per cent below 2000 levels by 2030.

French president Emmanuel Macron delivered a barely disguised rebuke of Australia’s climate policy in his first speech in the country on Tuesday night, urging the Turnbull government to show the “power of conviction” on climate change.

The Coalition’s weak climate goals are under increasing criticism, as not nearly high enough to drive either meaningful reductions in carbon pollution, or the shift to a low-carbon energy market.

Speaking at a separate conference in Melbourne on Tuesday, the head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance in Australia said the Coalition’s ambition on emissions reduction was “pitiful,” and would be achieved through a combination of business as usual, and hope.

“The (federal) government’s approach to meeting the 26-28 per cent national emissions reduction objective by 2030 is hope,” BNEF’s Kobad Bhavnagri told the Carbon Market Institute’s 2018 Emissions Reduction Summit.

“A hope that the economy will just continue to more or less accidentally decarbonise,” and hopefully, he added, with the help of “some fluke technologies that we can adopt from other places.”

“The target is very, very weak. And (a target of 26 per cent reduction in emissions for the power sector) is a problem for not only the power sector, but also for the rest of the economy.”

Frydenberg, however, told the EUAA conference on Wednesday that his government’s 26-28 per cent targets were consistent with the Paris accord.

“For the federal government, it is the right number. And we believe that a 26 per cent reduction in our emissions, in the electricity sector, will provide the right investment signals to the market to generate the right investment in the right place at the right time.
“What we won’t do,” he added, “is we won’t set recklessly high targets.

“(That’s) the alternative. (Labor) have a recklessly high target.

“We think we’ve got a balanced and considered target, but what we won’t do is take action that compromises the reliability and the affordability of our electricity system, merely to satisfy some on the extremes of the debate.”

Opposition climate spokesman Mark Butler drew attention to the admission at the Emissions Reduction Summit by Nationals MP Damian Drum that “Yeah, our emissions are going up” and that the government has “got some problems with Paris.”

“Under the Abbott-Turnbull government, carbon pollution has continued to go up, because the government is too divided on the indisputable realities of climate change to deliver real climate action and a real commitment to the Paris Accords,” Butler said in a statement.

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33 Comments
  1. Rob 6 months ago

    I submit that less than 45% is reckless in the extreme.

  2. George Darroch 6 months ago

    Reckless and extreme is the perfect way to describe the Turnbull-Abbott Government. They have determined to wreck our natural environment, the only planet we have.

  3. Mark Fowler 6 months ago

    The 45% (and higher) represent only one extreme of the debate. His mates at the other extreme only want 0%

  4. RobertO 6 months ago

    Hi All, for just Electricity we could easily do 75% by 2025 and then transport following that and there should be no reason why we can not hit the 75% mark by 2030 for both. Electrical should make 85% – 95% in 2030.

    • Hayden 6 months ago

      ” and then transport following that ” Surely we can walk and chew gum at the same time.

      • RobertO 6 months ago

        Hi Hayden, our current transport is 20 million (+) vehicles and we in this country turnover about 1 million a year. With no current help and depending on the election of the Fed Gov next we may not start on transport (I am hoping we will change and that we will start) until 2022. Remember we are dealing with the coal ash group and fiddleberg regards 45% as reckless and extreme.

        • David Mitchell 6 months ago

          That 1 million a year is in the current situation which is steady as she goes. I expect that to pick up when service stations start closing because they have no business. I have a PHEV with 40km of EV only range. I am filling up about twice a year in Adelaide. Most of my trips are short commutes so petrol only used on long trips.

          • RobertO 6 months ago

            Hi David Mitchell, We also have the “carbon tax” on motor ICE vehicles that the RWNJ’s want to stop, and as most people know we now have no vehicles manufactured in Australia. So there is no reason that this should be delayed any further, but RWNJ will fight fuel efficiency cause it’s a “carbon tax”.

  5. David leitch 6 months ago

    45% is reckless and extreme. Recklessly and extremely low. Arctic polar cap melt is 60 years ahead of earlier predictions.

    More to the point Frydenberg speaks out of both sides of his mouth. You will find that he says its 45% is reckless but actually it or 50% will happen on his watch.

    if you look at the funding given to the barrier reef, he first talked about farming runoff but when specifically asked was prepared to attribute the bleaching to climate change. He knows the score but plays politics.

    • Rob 6 months ago

      Agreed.

    • Joe 6 months ago

      The ‘COALition Climate Criminals’ are at it again with the Joshie. It was embarrassing watching the Joshie give his presser up there on Our Reef last week. $500 millions of our hard earned being splashed out…conveniently ahead of UNESCO’s review of Our Reef. Of course the Joshie couldn’t volunteer those evil words….’Climate Change’ or ‘Warming Sea Temperatures’. And of course Joshie gives another public spray at Labor states with their RE targets, its all very reckless in doing more than the absolute bare minimum of The COALition’s 26-28%.

    • david_fta 6 months ago

      45% is reckless and extreme.

      Too right. 100% emissions reduction before the atmospere got to 350 ppm (1989) might have been safe, but ever since then we’ve been partying on borrowed time.

    • Alastair Leith 6 months ago

      50% of the GBR did die from sedimentation and nutrient loading before the much more recent bleaching of half the remaining 50%, so 25% of original lost to warming oceans (making it more vulnerable to COT attacks and bleaching etc).

    • Alastair Leith 6 months ago

      Absolutely and elec. power only a portion of national emissions total, and pretty easy (technically) to get down.

    • solarguy 6 months ago

      Speaks out of both sides of his gob alright, I’m sick of the man and his cronies.

      A 1000yrs ago, these maniacs would have been sent to the dungeon or just slotted.

  6. JIm 6 months ago

    I kept an old leaflet produced by environmental NGOs (who will remain nameless, as it is a tad embarrassing). It called for a 25% by 2020 renewables target for South Australia. It is always easier with hindsight! What now seems remarkably low ambition for climate activists is understandable as this was in the early phase of windfarm development. Josh Frydenberg, who ought to know better, gives us instant BS, and Blind Freddy can see it!

    • George Darroch 6 months ago

      What year was it printed in?

      You are right that many of the people on the side of what’s right are far too timid, calling for half measures because we think they’ll be twice as acceptable. They’ll oppose us with vehemence anyway. We should be calling for 90%.

      • JIm 6 months ago

        2005. And we were told the grid couldn’t cope with that amount. Josh will live long enough to be severely embarrassed by many claims he makes – if he was not a typical career politician that is.

        • George Darroch 6 months ago

          I hope that in 13 years our current EV ambitions seem equally weak!

  7. Robert Westinghouse 6 months ago

    Renewals means that Big Power will not make enough money. Every Australian need to tell every politician, we are NOT happy paying more and more money to the FOREIGN OWNED power companies who pay minimal tax and send the money offshore. I am MAD as HELL and not going to take this anymore. Come on Australia……

  8. Grpfast 6 months ago

    Why does anyone give this man the forum to sprout BS. Lives with his head in the sand. Ignoring the rest of the world.

  9. Ian 6 months ago

    He never fails to disappoint.
    I learnt to aim high, but our government aims ever so low.

  10. howardpatr 6 months ago

    Frydenberg just following direction from our hypocritical PM who has been dancing to the tune og the LNP’s anthrpogenic climate change deniers since he replaced the RWRNJ, Abbott.

  11. ben 6 months ago

    Silly man. We need 100% reduction in emissions from all sources, especially methane fugitive emissions from CSG fields, coal and gas fired electricity, nitrous oxides from land clearance, methane from ruminant agriculture and CO2 from transport.

  12. john 6 months ago

    As I see it what will happen is because the cost of energy is lower with Renewable Energy Industry will move to that supply source.
    We will see lots of wind farms lots of solar farms lots of PHES as well as Concentrated Solar and Storage.
    This is a total no brainer if a company can buy power cheaper they will end of story.

    • Chris Fraser 6 months ago

      I think the NEG requires retailers to buy coal power in their energy mix, because the NEG considers coal to always on, guaranteeable and ‘reliable’ … (inverted commas may add rather bemused meanings for reliable).While widely distributed renewables are clearly more economic than thermal generators (as the fuel source is free), the retail cost of it will always be more than the market rate for renewables alone, because the NEG insists that expensive, polluting, dirty, water-consuming, toxic fossil energy be included in the grid stuff that you buy.There will come a day when subsidies for renewables be reduced to almost non-existent levels. But while the government ever insists on keeping fossil generators alive through their unnecessary life support system, consumers will be forced to pay.

  13. Barri Mundee 6 months ago

    Frydenberg is defending the coal target. BAU.

  14. Chris Jones 6 months ago

    I agree with Josh that 45% electricity RE by 2030 is reckless. To even look 1/2 way serious about Paris decarbonisation goals, by 2030 we should aim to be around 75%. Remember electricity is the easiest transformation to make! Transport, construction, and agriculture are harder to transform.

    Fortunately the ACT and Tasmania are past 75% already. SA is past 50% and should get close to 75% unless the new government interferes too much. Vic is progressing and will continue to do so if Labor stays in power there. Qld are on their way.

    Then we have NSW (making some progress despite it’s state government), the NT, and WA. They could make a lot of progress in 5 years if flows of capital are allowed to go that way.

    State islands such as King Island, Kangaroo Island, and the Tiwi islands will need a variety of methods with perhaps an emphasis on wind. Small territories (Norfolk, Xmas islands, etc) could make more progress if allowed by visual pollution rules.

    The Australian Antarctic territories are a problem. While in theory wind (and summer solar) would generate lots of electricity, practical problems of such technologies there are immense. Perhaps we have to be satisfied with some RE generated hydrogen for there.

    • George Darroch 6 months ago

      Depending on where you are on the continent, and the time of year, Antarctica has a lot of sunlight and a lot of wind. You’re not going to decarbonise Antarctic operations immediately, it will take a while, but this is very much an edge case representing a very small proportion of Australia’s emissions.

      Australia’s remote territories are perfectly suited to solar with storage (tropical latitudes) or wind with storage (sub-Antarctic latitudes).

    • David Osmond 6 months ago

      I think the ACT is just passing 50% now. The contracts and/or generation with Hornsdale 2 & 3 and Crookwell haven’t yet started, and those 3 wind farms will generate about 48% of the ACT’s renewable total.

      But never-the-less, the ACT will be at 100% in a couple of years.

  15. Robert Comerford 6 months ago

    The targets are ‘recklessly low’ would be a more honest statement.

  16. Peter F 6 months ago

    By my calculations if not one new wind farm is started beyond those already in construction we will get to 24% by 2020. If we throw in 2% energy efficiency per year and 1.5 GW behind the meter solar per year that gets us to 33% by 2030. If total solar falls to 2 GW per year and only those wind farms with finance but not yet started (eg Stockyard Hill) were built that would take us over 50% by 2030, even if efficiency gains are only 1% per year

  17. MaxG 6 months ago

    @Sophie: shouldn’t it be “delivered a barely discussed rebuke of: instead of “delivered a barely disguised rebuke of”? … 5th paragraph.

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