A review into the Federal Government’s Climate Solutions Fund has dismissed calls by coal lobbyists to water down provisions for high-polluting facilities, like coal-fired power stations, to access dedicated climate funding for upgrades.
As reported by The Guardian Australia, this means power baron Trevor St Baker’s push to have access to the initiative to upgrade Vales Point coal plant has been rejected.
The facilities method review by the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee (ERAC) considered and dismissed removing the threat of criminal sanctions on coal executives who access the funding inappropriately, to ensure funded emission reduction upgrades are genuine and would not have occurred otherwise, according to the Australia Institute.
This outcome aligns with research presented in the Australia Institute’s submission to the ERAC’s review.
“Integrity is the real winner in this review, which agreed to maintain the strong standards regarding how the Government’s Climate Solutions Fund supports emissions reductions in high polluting facilities,” Director of The Australia Institute’s Climate and Energy Program Richie Merzian said.
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“Lobbying by coal executives has put much pressure on the Government to allow greater access to climate funding for the coal industry. Fortunately, the independent review committee has made the right choice in maintaining the legal checks and balances that ensure the Climate Solutions Fund is not rorted.
“The work of the ERAC demonstrates the value of truly independent entities, by serving in the interests of the public on climate change, not the interests of coal executives looking for further handouts.
“The ERAC also resisted industry calls to water down the funding method to support carbon capture and storage, which has been a major failure despite receiving $1.3 billion in government funding to date.
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“Power stations like Vales Point pump seven million tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year, and every year they operate past their retirement age, is another year fuelling climate change and its devastating impacts such as the recent fires.
“The Government desperately needs a Climate & Energy plan if it is to credibly facilitate the transition for workers and communities from an aging fleet of coal-fired power stations, to renewable energy.”