How Green is the Australian “Green War Chest?”

The Australian Wind Energy Association (AusWEA) questioned the government’s “green war chest”, as reported recently in The Australian, as a long-term response to climate change.

Sydney, Austrialia – May 28, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] “The Russian Government’s recent decision to ratify the Kyoto Protocol will see this critical global climate initiative brought into force in the near future,” said Libby Anthony, CEO of AusWEA. Anthony said serious pressure is mounting on the Australian Government to increase its climate protection measures as it continues to refuse ratifying the protocol. “While short-term measures are welcome, we also need to see longer term structural changes to the way we generate energy, such as an increase in the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET),” Anthony said. “Russia’s move gives the Australian Government a window of opportunity to raise MRET and ensure long-term greenhouse gas reductions for this country.” Despite the government’s refusal to adopt long-term strategic measures like signing the Kyoto Protocol, several studies commissioned by the renewable energy sector highlight the economic viability of the renewable energy industry and its potential to dramatically reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. One of these recent studies, A Clean Energy Future for Australia, commissioned by renewable energy and environmental organisations, concluded that renewable energy sources could make up 50 percent of Australia’s total energy supply by 2040. The study has modeled how Australia can halve its greenhouse gas emissions from stationary energy by 2040 using current energy technologies at least cost. The study found that wind power could generate as much as 20 per cent of electricity generation by 2040. “Australia was once considered a world leader in renewables, but Russia’s decision to sign the Protocol and the short-term strategy of the Howard government foreshadowed in The Australian, highlights the fact that we are now way out of step with the rest of the developed world,” said Anthony. AusWEA, along with many other business and environment groups, has been lobbying the Government to sign the Kyoto Protocol and increase MRET to 10 percent by 2010. “MRET is considered a world-leading system for increasing renewable energy, but in order for it to maintain its position as a groundbreaking piece of legislation the target needs to be significantly raised,” said Anthony.
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