The Climate Council has released a statement urging states and territories to continue leading the charge on Australia’s transition to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy, by implementing their strong policies to encourage renewable energy and storage.

Climate Councillor and energy expert, Greg Bourne, said the Federal Government’s proposed policy was originally created as an alternative to a Clean Energy Target with the aim of lowering greenhouse gas pollution levels, but had now been amended to the point of becoming totally unrecognisable as a climate and energy policy.

“The National Energy Guarantee has been trimmed, pulled, poked and prodded to the point that we are now left with a weak and inadequate policy that fails across the board, especially when it comes to effectively tackling climate change,” Mr Bourne said.

Mr Bourne said should the NEG move through Federal Parliament, focus must then urgently be placed on developing strong and credible policies committed to cutting Australia’s rising greenhouse gas pollution levels across other sectors such as transport, industry and agriculture to tackle climate change.

“Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution levels have increased for the past three consecutive years. Today, due to the Federal Government’s inability to put in place credible climate and energy policy, our greenhouse gas pollution levels (excluding land use) are close to all-time highs,” Mr Bourne said.

“With the National Energy Guarantee locking in such woefully inadequate electricity sector emissions cuts of 26 per cent  by 2030, we can no longer expect the electricity sector to play its role in cutting pollution through transitioning to clean, affordable, low cost renewable energy.”

Mr Bourne said excluding Australia’s biggest polluting sector, electricity, there are seven other major sectors responsible for the nation’s rising greenhouse gas pollution levels. These sectors are transport, stationary energy, agriculture, fugitive emissions, industrial processes, waste and land use.

“Since 2005, greenhouse gas pollution has skyrocketed in some of these sectors, with transport up 22 per cent, stationary energy up 18 per cent and fugitive emissions up 42 per cent.

“By restricting the role of clean, low cost, reliable, renewable energy, the NEG has now locked Australia in to a more challenging, more expensive path to effectively tackling climate change.

“The NEG means we will now have to double-down on cutting greenhouse gas pollution in sectors like transport and agriculture in order to protect Australians from worsening extreme weather events, including severe heat waves, bushfires, flooding and drought, driven by accelerating climate change.” 

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