Premier refuses to answer question on Victorian coal phaseout plan

December 20, 2018 at 10:51 pm Leave a comment

Ellen Sandell asking about coal phaseout plan

The Premier Daniel Andrews failed to answer a direct question on Wednesday, the last sitting day this year for state parliament, on a transition plan to close Victoria’s dirty coal plants and stop coal mining and burning in Victoria for good, asked on behalf of School strike for climate kids.

Greens MP Ellen Sandell (Melbourne) asked the Premier, on behalf of all the students striking for climate justice, when he would urgently release his coal transition plan. She also highlighted that the Andrews government has extended the licence for the dirtiest coal station in Australia, Yallourn.

Premier, while your government has done some really good things on renewables, you are suspiciously silent when it comes to coal. My question is: will you hear the call of these brave young people and urgently release a plan to close Victoria’s dirty coal plants and stop coal mining and burning in Victoria for good?

Instead of answering the question, the Premier diverted his answer into the Victorian Renewable Energy Target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030 (The kids are demanding 100 percent by 2030), the lack of Federal leadership and in particular raising the old history in another parliament of Greens senators opposition to the CPRS scheme.

Deflection is a tried and true method of avoiding the question. Most politicians do it. But we should expect far better.

Dan Andrews categorised the CPRS scheme in 2009 as ‘good’, yet there were many in the community outside of the Greens highly critical of this legislation arguing it had fundamental flaws. It was bad legislation with too many free permits, enormous loopholes that would enhance deforestation, and $3.9 billion of assistance to coal-fired generators. Climate Action Moreland was one of 66 grassroots groups that criticised the CPRS at the time.

The Premier needs to step up and answer to the school kids and the next generation and their demands, including urgent action on coal phaseout and 100% renewable energy by 2030, and provide a plan for transitioning Victoria off coal.

It is no good deflecting the Greens MP question into discussing Federal climate policy debates of the past. He needs to take responsibility for how the Victorian state government which he leads can implement a just transition structural adjustment program for the workers and community of the La Trobe Valley in the phaseout of coal.

We are still waiting for a direct answer for the kids: What is the Government’s plan to close Victoria’s dirty coal plants and stop coal mining and burning in Victoria for good?

Watch the full question and answer from Facebook:

 

Just as a reminder, David Attenborough warned at the UN Climate conference this month that “Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate Change. If we don’t take action the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

At the same conference 15 year old Swedish school girl Greta Thunberg, who started the climate strike back in August, called for us to focus on what needs to be done, not on what is politically possible. She called to keep fossil fuels in the ground and also to do so with a focus on equity. Just Transition should be a very important part of what is done to solve the climate crisis. The Premier should take note of her very direct speech to the UN Climate Conference Plenary

Background:

Andrews Labor extends coal Mining licences in June

Here is how Environment Victoria categorised the decision to extend the mining licences for Loy Yang and Yallourn:

“This is a deeply disappointing decision that could make it harder for Victoria to achieve its legislated targets to cut climate pollution. It potentially opens the door to Yallourn and Loy Yang pumping hundreds of millions of tonnes more greenhouse pollution into our atmosphere,” said Environment Victoria CEO Mark Wakeham.

Mining licences at Yallourn and Loy Yang mines were due to expire in 2026 and 2037 respectively. They have now been extended to 2051 and 2065. This comes following the government’s decision to delay setting 2025 and 2030 emissions reductions targets until after the state election, and potentially makes it harder to achieve any target recommended by the panel headed by Greg Combet.

“Instead of extending mining licences the state government should have issued a separate licence for the period of mine rehabilitation.

“This decision will make it harder for Victoria to make the significant cuts in CO2 that we need to make, and signals to the renewable energy industry that these old coal clunkers could be around for much longer than they should be, which will only stifle investment in clean energy.

Entry filed under: 100% renewables, coal closures, Labors Climate Record, news, Politician education. Tags: , , , , , .

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