Greg Hunt's talk at the Grattan Institute on 16/7/13 is the most detailed description yet of the Coalition's Direct Action Plan. There were lots of questions. Watch the video here. Listen to the podcast here. His prepared speech is here but includes less detail than the talk.
The document that has been featured in the Liberal Party campaign is 'Our Plan: Real solutions for all Australians'. The 49 page document carefully avoids any reference to climate change. It includes a commitment to 5% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2020 (compared with 2000), but does not mention the conditional 15-20% targets.
The Coalition has no greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030 or for 2050. (See Grattan Institute talk.) They would abolish the independent Climate Change Authority that is responsible for ensuring that targets and emission caps are set in line with the most up to date climate science
The Liberal Party's Direct Action Plan was written in 2009 and has not been revised since. It has been taken down from the Liberal Party website, but is still available on Greg Hunt's website (Shadow Minister for Climate Action Environment and Heritage).
The Plan has not yet been updated to include current policies and recent statements from Greg Hunt and Tony Abbott provide a more accurate picture. See also , the talk by Greg Hunt at the ANU. A link to the video of this event is to the right of this post.
Greg Hunt regularly refers to bipartisanship on emissions reductions targets. However, he makes strenuous efforts not to mention the 15-25% figures. This gives rise to the suspicion that bipartisanship on targets is a 'non-core' promise, similar to the bipartisan support fro the Victorian Renewable Energy Target which evaporated immediately after the Coalition victory.
There is a considerable range of views within the Coalition on climate change and renewable energy. Criticism of the Direct Action Plan comes both from those concerned about addressing climate change, such as Dr Washer, and those sceptical about its existence, including WA MP, Dr Jensen.
Giles Parkinson in Renew Economy writes:
The renewable energy industry is probably the industry sector most directly affected by the outcome of this election. While Labor has vowed to push the next RET review out to 2016, the Coalition wants to have yet another review of the RET in 2014, and has expressed sympathy with pleas to dilute the fixed 41,000GWh target because of falling demand.
The uncertainty that this has created has already brought most large-scale developments to a halt. There is a view in certain sections of the renewables industry that it could be prudent to cut some sort of deal – concede a dilution of the RET by extending the 41,000GWh target out a few years – in exchange for “certainty”.
Other factors that could be brought into discussion are support for a buyout of fossil fuel generators, which are being hit by falling wholesale electricity prices caused by falling demand and the low short-run marginal cost of wind and solar plants.
Read more here.
Climate Spectator's Tristan Edis on Greg Hunt's talk to the Australian Alliance to Save Energy Summer Study conference in March, and on his ANU talk in April. And ten tough questions for Abbott on climate here.