Climate Change Australia – Hastings branch president Harry Creamer calls it a ‘vicious cycle’.
And, he says, the federal government’s lack of action on climate change and an emissions intensity scheme is more about scoring cheap political points than policy.
"Without a national energy plan, there is no certainty for investors, and already there is a lack of forward commitment to building new power plants, which we need as we grow our economy,” Mr Creamer said.
“This puts us back to the market concentration for the remaining coal power stations, the lack of competition, and higher electricity prices.
“It’s a vicious cycle backed by the National Party and some Liberals who support the coal industry, at any cost it seems.
“They don’t care about electricity prices or climate change. What they want is the chance to attack Labor on these issues.”
Mr Creamer said the closing of nine coal-fired power stations since 2012 only increases the market concentration for the remaining coal power stations.
“Basic economics tells us this lack of competition equals higher electricity prices,” he added.
“An emissions intensity scheme would cost the carbon pollution coming from each power plant, with dirty brown coal paying more than black coal, which pays more than gas.
“Renewables would not be liable since they are a clean source of generation. This makes power from gas and renewables cheaper than from coal, and so more gas and renewable energy plants would be built.
“This would help provide the pathway we need to lower electricity prices and lower carbon emissions to meet the Paris Climate Agreement targets the government signed up to a year ago. There is currently no way at all the government can meet these targets - planting a few trees is simply not enough.”
“Do people think we are getting a good deal now, from the current system? Probably not, and it’s because the electricity market is dominated by coal power,” he said.
“We need to call them out, by ringing their offices, by going to see them while there is still time to get a National Energy Plan in place as part of the 2017 policy review.”
Mr Creamer said he had put several questions to federal MP Luke Hartsuyker but was yet to receive a response.
The questions are:
1) Why is the National Party siding with owners of coal-fired power stations to push up electricity prices for everyone?
2) Why is the National Party blocking effective action on climate change when it’s clear that the early effects of global warming are here already – witness Sydney last night – record overnight temperature of +28°C? Planting a few trees is just not good enough (this is what they do now!)
3) Why is the government giving $1billion to the Indian-owned and operated Adani coal mine in north QLD, when this will make matters worse, destroy the Great Barrier Reef, and waste money at a time when we are at risk of losing our AAA credit rating? This money should be spent on infrastructure that meets the needs of Australians, not a mega coal mine. Like a rail link to Badgerys Creek airport, also helping millions of people in western Sydney.
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