Clive Palmer says his 3-person Senate team will not support any change to Australia’s renewable energy target, and will also vote against the repeal of the Climate Change Authority, and the Clean Energy Finance Corp.
Palmer said he would support the Abbott government’s repeal of the carbon price, but would push for an emissions trading scheme to be implemented when Australia’s major trading partners did the same. He said Direct Action was a waste of money.
Palmer made the announcement in company with former US vice president Al Gore, who said he regretted the demise of the carbon price, but looked forward to Australia continuing its leadership on climate and renewable energy policies.
Palmer’s decision – presuming he holds to it – effectively stops the Abbott government from its planned scalping, or possible repeal, of the renewable energy target, which calls for 41,000GWh of renewable energy to be built by 2020.
The Abbott government has commissioned a review of the RET – headed by climate skeptic Dick Warburton – but modelling by its own hand-picked consultant this week torpedoed its major argument against renewable – that the target was a burden on households and was impossible to meet.
The retention of the Climate Change Authority is also significant. It provides independent advice on climate policy – it has argued that Australia should lift its emissions reduction target to 19 per cent from 5 per cent – and also has a statutory requirement to conduct the RET review, rather than the hand-picked panel of climate skeptics and fossil fuel lobbyists commissioned by Abbott.
The $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corp now also appears safe with the support of Palmer. It will continue to fund investments in energy efficiency and emerging technologies that would struggle to gain commercial finance without its support. It has promised to return a profit and deliver at least half of the country’s emissions reduction target.
Palmer’s support of the RET is yet another change of position for the aspiring coal barron. However, he said: “The world is constantly changing, and our ability to adapt to change and keep open open mind is what really matters.”
He praised Gore – the author of the Inconvenient Truth” as a great leader. Gore, said it was unfortunate that the carbon would be repealed – Australia will be the first country to do so – but said the support of the other measures was crucial.
“This is an extraordinary moment for Australian when it is beginning to confront climate change in a meaningful way,” he said. Gore pointed to recent announcements by Barack Obama, the emerging cap and trade system in China and the election of the new PM in India and his promise to deliver solar power to every household by 2020 in his “saffron revolution.”
More to follow