Australian panel calls for clean energy target to cut emissions

first_imgA proposed clean energy target for Australia aims to offset emissions from the Yallourn Power Station and other coal-fired power plants. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Australian panel calls for clean energy target to cut emissions CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img A panel led by Australia’s chief scientist has called for the government to set a clean energy target to reduce emissions from electric power plants that would help the country meet its commitments under the Paris climate agreement. Though any goal is seen as a welcome step toward resolving the nation’s long-standing emissions policy paralysis, many worry the panel has set the bar too low.The recommendation comes from a five-member panel led by Alan Finkel, a neuroscientist and former chancellor of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Under the proposed scheme, power plants would receive certificates for producing clean electricity in proportion to how far their carbon emissions fall below a specified threshold. Technologies such as solar and wind would benefit most, but plants using gas and coal—paired with carbon capture and storage—could also earn certificates. Electricity retailers would then have to purchase enough certificates to demonstrate that a certain percentage of their electricity comes from low-emissions sources.The report recommends that the clean energy target be set so that electricity sector emissions are reduced by 28% below 2005 levels by 2030 and cut further, to an unspecified level, by 2070. The report does not set a threshold for emissions generated during production or the percentage of clean energy to be supplied to consumers; presumably these will be set by the government.  By Dennis NormileJun. 13, 2017 , 1:45 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The plan, part of a report on the future security of the national electricity market, has gotten mixed reviews from environmentalists. “While the Finkel review is a step forward, much more needs to be done to reduce the emissions of Australia’s biggest polluter—the electricity sector,” reads a statement issued by Amanda McKenzie, CEO of the Climate Council in Sydney, Australia, an organization that seeks to educate the public on climate change.Ian Lowe, an energy policy specialist at Griffith University in Nathan, Australia, near Brisbane, backs the need to set a clean energy target but is disappointed by the timetable for a transition to clean energy. “Basically, these recommendations would allow dirty old coal-fired power stations to continue operating for decades,” he says.Others note that Australia has pledged to reduce all emissions by 28% below 2005 levels by 2030. To meet that target, “the electricity sector can and needs to deliver much greater percentage reductions,” says Frank Jotzo, an energy economist at Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. Matthew Stocks, a renewable energy specialist at ANU, hopes the new report will “take the politics out of energy policy” by setting a clear policy that will spur investment in energy infrastructure.The review panel was set up after 900,000 households lost power during a blackout in southern Australia last September. In addition to the strategy for emissions reductions, the report has recommendations for increasing energy security and reliability and reducing prices for consumers.All of the recommendations require action by Parliament to implement. The two major parties appear to disagree over how ambitious the clean energy target should be, Stocks notes. But he’s cautiously optimistic: “We could be closer to a compromise than at any time I’ve seen before.”last_img read more