The fear campaign spread by Coalition ranks against ambitious climate change and clean energy targets won’t go away.
In the latest salvo, the NSW Coalition government has dismissed a proposal from the NSW Greens to achieve net zero emissions by 2040, saying it would effectively “shut the state down”, and even bring an end to anti-terror operations and emergency rescues.
The response to the Greens proposal, outlined here, was reported in the Daily Telegraph (we couldn’t find an online link, but it was in the printed copy in our local cafe, and we always scan the headlines for a giggle), who quoted environment minister Mark Speakman as saying that to achieve the Greenzes target, the entire state would have to shut down.
“They want to cut emissions by 25 per cent in just five years,” Speakman was quoted as saying.
“It may require mandating vegetarianism to reduce agricultural emissions and would stop Western Sydney’s airport from ever going ahead.”
The newspaper also quoted Speakman as saying such a target would stop hazard reduction burns, anti-terror police operations and emergency rescues. Presumably he is worried about the ability of electric or fuel cell vehicles making it down the street. Someone should tell him about the L.A. police department and it’s planned fleet of Tesla pursuit vehicles.
Speakman earlier this month attended the launch of the zero net energy plan for the town of Uralla, a blueprint the government has said could be replicated by other towns, but apparently not across the state.
Speakman’s own Office of Environment and Heritage recently suggested that Australia, and by implication NSW, should adopt much more ambitious emissions reduction targets. It did not specify a range, but cited as an example the Climate Change Authority’s recommended 40-60 per cent reduction range on 2000 levels by 2030. Continuing that trajectory would take the country close to zero net emissions within the next two decades.
The current federal target for 2030 is for a 19 per cent cut below 2020 levels, now expressed as a 26-28 per cent cut from 2005 levels (when emissions were higher). Labor has recommended a 50 per cent cut in emissions by 2030.
The OEH report said that the NSW economy was in danger of being left with “stranded” fossil fuel assets and missing out on investment in new technologies if it got left behind on climate policies.
Speakman’s department and the NSW government blocked the release of that OEH report. It was only revealed by a freedom of information search by Fairfax Media.