Since the Coalition Party took over the reigns in Australia, the party led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott has launched attack after attack on the environment. For some reason, the environment seems to be the Coalition Party’s punching bag. Let’s see what they’ve done: Approved dredging off the coast of Queensland near the Great Barrier Reef for a coal export port and repealed the carbon tax. So, what else is the Coalition Party up to?
Well, the government is now reviewing whether or not to revise or eliminate the nation’s renewable energy target (RET). In February, the Abbott government appointed industrialist Dick Warburton, a self-proclaimed climate skeptic to lead a review of the RET. The review will be looking at “the economic, environmental and social impacts of the RET scheme, in particular the impacts on electricity prices, energy markets, the renewable energy sector, the manufacturing sector and Australian households” and with assessing how it fits with the government’s aim of “reducing business costs”
New modeling commissioned by the Clean Energy Council shows that energy bills are higher in the short term as a result of the RET, “but households would end up about $50 a year better off in 2020 if the target is left in place.” The report also noted that average energy bills would be $100 a year lower after 2020. In the short term, the report noted that energy bills would be $11 to $22 a year higher until 2017-2018. According to Daniel Leahy, development manager for RES Australia, “We are concerned that the Government may be considering a reduction of the RET on a false premise it will save consumers money – when in reality, cutting the RET will demonstrably increase our energy bills in the long term.”
Adding more fuel to the flames, new reports suggest that the Abbot administration will axe the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the primary agency supporting renewable energy in Australia. All this in the name of cutting government spending. Clearly, the Abbott administration is thinking short term and not long term. Maybe they realize that this is their only shot at derailing the renewable energy industry in favor of cheaper, but dirtier energy. Either way, the Abbott government is moving backwards and not forward.