Coalition to break Australia’s commitment to Paris Agreement

nuclear power stacks next to transmission tower
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Australia’s Coalition government said it would dump Australia’s commitment to the Paris Agreement if elected, and use gas and nuclear power to transition to net zero.

Shadow Energy Minister Ted O’Brien said the Labor government’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by the end of the decade was unachievable.

“The only way now that Labor can achieve its 2030 target, is to collapse industry. We will not have a bar of it from the Coalition,” O’Brien said.

Related article: Report: Nuclear SMRs ‘too expensive, too slow, and too risky’

While projections from the Climate Change Authority confirmed Australia was not on track to meet the 2030 Paris Agreement target, they indicated that Australia could come very close to the goal if government policies were enacted as promised.

With the Labor government has committed to a renewable energy target of 82% by 2030, the Coalition also said that would be impossible to meet.

The Coalition has repeatedly delayed the release of its own policy, but said it would rely heavily on gas and nuclear power.

O’Brien refused to say whether the Coalition would adopt any targets at all before 2050.

The Coalition’s plan has been slammed by renewable energy advocates.

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said, “[Opposition leader Peter] Dutton’s climate policy is a disaster, and the consequence for Australians would be more extreme heat, fires and floods. Instead of ripping up Australia’s 2030 climate targets, Peter Dutton must listen to the communities already ravaged by worsening climate disasters.

“There are 195 countries signed up to the Paris Agreement. Opting out would make Australia a global laughing stock.

“The Liberals haven’t learned the lesson Australians gave them at the last election: this is more of the same from the party who already gave us a decade of denial and delay on climate.”

In response to the Coalition’s plans to adopt nuclear power in Australia, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) Australia’s CEO Amandine Denis Ryan said, “The research by IEEFA’s nuclear experts calls into question whether nuclear makes financial sense for Australia, for a multitude of reasons—timing, cost, compatibility with renewables and liability issues to cite just a few.

Related article: Nuclear six times more expensive than renewables

“Our research shows that nuclear reactors—both small modular reactors (SMRs) and gigawatt-scale reactors—in comparable countries have consistently taken longer and have been more expensive to build than expected.

“For a country like Australia, starting from scratch, we expect that nuclear power reactors would not reach commercial operation before the 2040s, would come at a high cost, and require substantial government support.

“Nuclear plants in Australia cannot be built in time to replace Australia’s fleet of coal power stations, more than 90% of which are expected to retire in the next 10 years. Our research aligns with CSIRO and the regulators’ assessment that it would take at least 15 years to first production.”

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