Libs won’t pretend Labor’s 2030 targets are on track.


Labor won’t meet its 2030 emissions reduction target.

For the first time in years, Australia went to the United Nations’ COP28 climate change summit in Dubai last December reporting an increase in its greenhouse gas emissions – by 4 million tonnes.

If Labor were on track for its 2030 target, it should have reported a reduction of 17 million tonnes.

To be on track for its 2030 target required a reduction of 17 million tonnes.

Labor spent a decade beating up the Coalition on climate change, despite the fact we beat our Kyoto 1 and Kyoto 2 targets, and were on track to beat our targets as part of the Paris Agreement.

When we left office, emissions were around 29 percent below 2005 levels.

Emissions have since flatlined and still remain at 29 percent, despite Labor increasing Australia’s emissions reduction target to 43 percent by 2030.

Remember the Powering Australia policy, trumpeted as Labor’s “plan to create jobs, cut power bills and reduce emissions by boosting renewable energy”?

Its centrepiece was a plan for 82% renewables by 2030. 

This required 4.5 GW of additional industrial-scale wind and solar to be installed every year.

Last year, less than one-third of this was delivered. 

Undeterred, Labor is forcing the closure of 90 percent of our 24/7 baseload power within a decade – closing one system before another is ready.

Australians now pay among the world’s highest electricity bills and the market operator warns of blackouts as early as summer, affecting hospitals, schools, businesses and homes.  

Industry leaders were the first to bell the cat.

According to Alinta Energy CEO Jeff Dimery, “it’s becoming more challenging not less challenging; on this trajectory we’re unlikely to get there”.

Energy Australia’s Mark Collette argues, “82 percent was always a very big target that won’t be met on current progress”. 

The Climate Change Authority’s latest annual progress report says “Australia is not reducing emissions at the rate needed to reach the 2030 target”.

At Senate Estimates in February this year, Department officials commented on Labor’s 82 precent renewables plan saying “what we are seeing currently is that the investment trends in this sector were not quite what they need to be”.

Even the most optimistic departmental scenario which assumes all Labor’s policies delivered as intended, forecasts Australia still falling short of its 2030 target.

Mugged by reality, NSW Labor has extended the life of the Eraring coal-fired power station. Victoria Labor has similar arrangements in place with two coal plants and last week approved its first gas project in a decade.

But the Albanese Government has kept its head in the sand.

That is, until Peter Dutton said last weekend that Labor’s 2030 targets won’t be met. 

The Prime Minister and Climate Change and Energy Minister suddenly went into overdrive, claiming the Coalition is pulling out of the Paris Agreement.

This is a lie of course. We’re committed to Paris and to net-zero by 2050.

But we won’t be shy in holding Labor to account for locking Australia into a target it cannot meet.

Then came a shrill cry that Australia will be booted out of Paris if it falls short.

If that were the case, Labor would have even more explaining to do.

But, given the US and EU are also likely to fall short of their 2030 targets, I wonder if the Prime Minister has provided the same advice to President Biden.

Most telling of Labor’s hysterical response has been their silence on the real-world economic impact of their failed climate and energy policies.

How will Labor achieve its target, how much will it cost and who will pay?

These questions have never been answered, at least not by Labor.

But the work of others provides some hints.

On costs, the nearest estimate of Labor’s plan is the “E+RE+” scenario of the Net Zero Australia study by Princeton University, the University or Melbourne and the University of Queensland which is $1.2 to $1.5 trillion by 2030.

Consumers and taxpayers will pick up the tab.

At this rate, Labor’s only hope of reaching its 2030 target lies with a collapse of industry.

So which sector will it attack – agriculture, resources or manufacturing?  

What’s clear is that Labor will do whatever it takes, and at any cost.

A point that’s been lost over recent days is that the Albanese Government will be submitting Australia’s 2035 target before the next election.  

In modelling the 2035 target, Labor will be assuming its 2030 target is met.  

This means it will only get worse for Australian families and businesses which are already feeling the pain of Labor’s trainwreck of an energy policy.

Australia needs a sensible energy policy which delivers cheaper, cleaner and consistent 24/7 electricity, and that’s what the Coalition will deliver. 

We won’t be pretending Labor’s 2030 target is achievable.

Ted O’Brien

Federal Member for Fairfax

Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy

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