Thursday, March 29, 2012

Can't do clean energy in Queensland?

One big area of change with the election of the LNP government in QLD will be in sustainability and climate change. Probably the easiest way to summarize it is that (baring the feed in tariff) the Queensland government will no longer be taking action on climate change or promoting clean energy*.

This means that along with the Office of climate change, the:
Queensland Climate Change Fund
Queensland Renewable Energy Fund
Queensland Smart Energy Savings Fund
Queensland Future Growth Fund
Solar Initiatives Package
Solar Flagships Program
Waste Avoidance and Resource efficiency Fund
Local Government Sustainable Future Fund

are all being scrapped.

These LNP plans didn't get much airing during the campaign, mostly because they weren't released until a day or two before the election. 

Most galling for supporters of clean energy will probably the the LNPs decision to pull out of the 250 mega watt Solar Dawn project in western Queensland. If this ends up killing the whole project another big loser, along with the environment and prospective employees, will be the University of Queensland, which, I have just discovered, was to get $60 million in research funding to use the Solar Dawn plant as a test bed for research into improvements and innovations in solar thermal technology.

Cambell Newman has stated that state based schemes are now unnecessary because of the impending national carbon price. However, I assume this is not a tacit admission that carbon pricing will be effective in tackling reducing greenhouse gas emissions, although it most likely will be.

Although there is some truth some Newman's argument, it also misses a very important point. Which is that climate action will bring with it investment in clean energy and pollution reduction technology. Investment means money and jobs for the states it occurs in. Call them what you want but states provide subsidies, co-investment, tax breaks and build infrastructure all the time to attract investment to their state. Not doing this in QLD just means we'll be less attractive to invest in.

The LNP policy document (view here) does state the government will instead help business access the $10 billion + dollars for clean energy that is part of the carbon price/ clean energy future package. However, since the state LNP opposes the clean energy future plan and the federal Lib-Nats plan to scrap the clean energy package if elected, this appears to be a policy the LNP hope not to implement. And again without the full support of the state government it is less likely QLD will get that money now anyway. 

There is also concern amongst conservation groups that the new LNP government will allow more pollution from farming to reach the great barrier reef due to their "regulation busting". With a new report indicating that the herbicide Diuron is being found way above safe levels on the reef at the moment, the impact of agricultural runoff on the reef will be an ongoing concern.

* If I'm wrong on this please comment and I'll make a correction.

This post represents my personal view and before anyone gets upset note that I've have been critical of Labour governments in the past as well.

1 comment:

  1. What a shame, high-browed schemes are great but we need action on the ground!