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Climate Change and Energy
For up to date information on The Greens action on climate change please see our website.
The Greens will be supporting 350.org's Day of Action on 24 October 2011. 350.org are calling on people around the world to make an image of 350 at an iconic place in their community and then upload a photo of the event to the website.
The Australian Greens believe that:
- climate change poses the greatest threat to our world in human history and requires urgent local, national and global action.
- we have only 10-15 years to use our collective human intelligence to address the crisis of climate change and to prevent catastrophe.
- Australia is ideally placed to lead the world in this challenge and the Greens are committed to Australia taking that lead.
- Australia needs to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, actively support international mitigation measures to reduce global emissions, and plan to adapt to climate change impacts which are now inevitable.
- early action to reduce pollution is cheaper and fairer than delaying action.
- the equity principle must be at the core of climate change negotiations and measures.
- the cost of reducing greenhouse emissions and adapting to climate change must be distributed fairly, both domestically and between nations.
- climate change will result in the displacement of people, creating environmental refugees and intensifying the threat of regional and global conflict.
- Australia must use its diplomatic and economic influence to promote the development of alternatives to greenhouse gas intensive sources of energy.
- energy prices should reflect the environmental and social costs of production and use.
- renewable energy projects should be ecologically sustainable and governed by the same development guidelines as other investments of a similar scale.
- the major refurbishment of existing coal fired power stations undermines the effort to increase end-use energy efficiency, demand management and renewable energy.
- a safe climate will require a return to an atmospheric concentration of 350ppm or lower of greenhouse gases (CO2 equivalents)
- Australia needs to plan for a future that does not rely on coal export and coal fired electricity.
The Australian Greens want:
- Australia to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as is feasible and by no later than 2050 with a minimum of 40% reduction on 1990 levels by 2020.
- the reversal of Australia’s growing demand for energy through demand management and increased efficiency of supply and end-use.
- future energy needs to be met using sustainable, renewable energy sources.
- all countries to develop and meet greenhouse gas emission targets.
- actions to adapt Australia to the impacts of climate change.
- Australia to be prepared for peak oil without resorting to the heavily greenhouse polluting options of shale oil or coal-to-oil.
- the development and ratification of a global oil depletion protocol.
The Australian Greens will:
- take a leading role in negotiating a multilateral emission abatement treaty which includes binding emission targets for all countries.
- establish binding national emission targets for 2012, 2020 and 2050 supported by a detailed strategy to reduce emissions from the energy, transport, industry, waste and land management sectors.
- drive the equitable transition to a low carbon economy through a range of market-based and regulatory mechanisms reflecting the real costs of greenhouse gas emissions.
- address the social impacts of the transition to a low carbon economy.
- create a new ministerial position, Minister for Climate Change and Energy, to oversee the national response to climate change and the implementation of energy efficiency programs and standards.
- establish a low greenhouse trigger in the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC), ensuring Federal oversight of developments which are liable to have a significant impact on domestic or global greenhouse emissions.
- establish a national system of energy efficiency targets.
- significantly increase the stringency of Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for products, buildings and infrastructure.
- ensure that renewable electricity provides 30% of national demand by 2020 by increasing the renewable energy target (RET) and by introducing measures such as feed-in tariffs and regulations to support a range of prospective new renewable energy technologies.
- reform RET to exclude non-renewable sources, including greenfields coal-bed methane, and new hydroelectric and native forest fuelled power stations.
- reform the National Electricity Market to remove the bias towards centralised coal-fired generation, and encourage demand management and the development of distributed generation and renewable energy.
- review national gas resources and their allocation to ensure that Australia has sufficient gas to produce on-demand electricity in the transition to a fully renewable economy.
- facilitate the rollout of smart meters with real-time communications technology and information display with measures to ensure that people who are on low incomes, unemployed or aged are not unfairly penalised.
- transfer subsidies and government support, including funding for research and development, from the fossil fuel sectors to energy efficiency and renewable energy.
- provide incentives, including any revenue raised from the above measures, to promote public transport, and to encourage research, development, and commercialisation of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
- ensure that energy price subsidies are not used to attract or retain energy intensive industries.
- oppose the establishment of new coal-fired power stations, new coal mines and the expansion of existing mines, as the technology to capture and store greenhouse gas emissions remains unproven.
- ban public funding to refurbish any existing coal fired power stations.
- develop a plan to assist affected communities in the transition from dependence on coal mining and coal-fired power stations, given that global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will inevitably reduce the demand for coal.
- adopt the precautionary principle in relation to carbon capture and storage (geosequestration) by opposing public funding, and ensuring that companies are financially responsible for the risks of CO2 leakage.
- phase in stringent fuel efficiency standards.
- remove the GST on public transport.
- reduce vehicle dependence and improve fuel efficiency by investing in public transport, providing housing with access to public transport and discouraging urban sprawl.
- use government procurement policies to promote efficient passenger vehicles.
- amend the Fringe Benefits Tax to remove the incentive to increase vehicle use.
- phase out diesel fuel subsidies by removing energy credits.
- support research, development and commercialisation of sustainable alternative fuels.
- support the development and expansion of robust distribution networks for transitional and sustainable alternative fuels and charging facilities for electric vehicles.
- increase community awareness about the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, about simple and cost-effective emission mitigation options, and about the need to plan for future climate change impacts.
- help countries in our region to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and adapt to climate change through appropriate technology transfer and other forms of assistance.