Special Podcast: Mark Butler on the NEG and EVs

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Labor climate and energy spokesman Mark Butler joined RenewEconomy for a podcast interview on Tuesday to talk about two important topics: the proposed National Energy Guarantee and electric vehicles.

Normally we would hold such interviews for our weekly Energy Insiders podcast, but because the updated NEG will be released this Friday, we thought it best to run now.

The best we can hope for from the NEG, Butler says, is that it “does no harm”, particularly given the federal government’s refusal to improve its emissions reduction target.

Butler says the focus on Friday’s release will to ensure that there are barriers or roadblocks in a policy mechanism with two obligations that will either may never be triggered (reliability) or are already effectively met (emissions).

“We have got to make sure this thing does no harm … that it doesn’t stifle innovation, it doesn’t present barriers to entry to new retailers and new companies getting into the energy transition,” Butler says.

We also talked about electric vehicles with Butler, who produced a big file from his briefcase, marked EV, and containing any number of analyst reports, research and advice.

Australia is already being left behind in EVs, and the real risk is that it could be left further behind given the reluctance of many in the far right to embrace the technology.

In fact, some even say they would prefer to “die in the ditch” than embrace EVs.

The failure to even adopt basic emissions and fuel standards means that Autralian consumers are paying way too much for their fuel – the Climate Change Authority put the added costs at $7,000 per vehicle, and it could leave Australia as an industrial relic of internal cumbustion engines, much like Cuba has become for ageing American vehicles.

Butler says Labor plans a major policy announcement on EVs, which he says will be essential not just to keep up with technology, but also to deal with emissions – with transport now being a major source of emissions in states and territories with a majority share of renewables such as South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.

And don’t forgot, you can download all the episodes of the Energy Insiders podcasts, and the Solar Insiders podcasts, on your favourite platform, and here on the RenewEconomy website.


  • Joe

    Lovely to hear from Mark Butler. Labor is doing the thinking about transport / EV’s and the wider implications. On the other hand we hear nothing positive only NEGativity from the COALition. Do they even care?

    • solarguy

      I strongly agree Joe, it was very refreshing to hear from our future energy minister, very positive indeed. It’s a clear choice between a party that get’s it and the incumbent MORONS. True leadership and brains from Mark, indeed.

  • Ray Miller

    Good to hear a politician speaking rationally. Also agree the Australia needs to completely change our current thinking and do as much as we can to accelerate the adoption of EV’s and consign the ICE to history. With only a hand full of days of fuel reserve, the only economic way of improving the reserve time it is to convert to EV’s and we get better air quality to boot.

    Luddites is the only way to describe the Liberal and National Parties and their supporters, history records what happen to them.

  • Rod

    What a stark difference between this interview and the door stop with Freydenburg the other day.
    One, intelligent, calm and knowledgeable.

    The other, condescending, smug and sticking to the pro fossil play book. I think he sounded drunk. Class act, our Joshie.