Gas targets undermine SA-Federal energy agreement
THE CLIMATE COUNCIL has warned that unrealistic and unnecessary targets for gas production undermine an otherwise promising deal between the Federal and South Australian Governments.
The $1bn deal includes support for solar thermal, electric vehicles, battery storage and an interconnector between SA and NSW, solutions that reduce emissions while also creating new jobs and unlocking economic opportunities for South Australia.
However, the deal also requires the SA government to set targets to ramp up gas production in the 2020s which is nonsensical for an “emissions reduction” deal.
“Gas is a fossil fuel that drives climate change, and an “emissions reduction deal” that increases gas production is utter nonsense,” said Andrew Stock, Climate Council spokesman and energy executive with over 40 years experience.
“South Australia is leading the nation in cleaning up its electricity grid. Already, over half of its power needs are being met by wind and solar, and the SA government plans to reach net-100% renewable electricity by 2030. The federal government’s push for gas expansion is undermining climate progress,” said Mr Stock.
“We don’t need new gas. On the gas industry’s own numbers, new gas is expensive. It will push up power prices, not reduce them. And it’s polluting. South Australia’s wholesale power prices are now consistently the lowest in the market because it has increased renewables and moved away from gas.” he said.
The State Energy and Emissions Reduction Deal announcement comes as the United States and China issue a joint climate statement pledging to tackle climate change with “the seriousness and urgency that it demands”.
“While the rest of the world takes decisive action on climate change, Australia is at the back of the pack with our Federal government still chasing the myth of a ‘gas-led’ recovery,” said Mr Stock.
“The government has no credibility on climate change right now, and is leading Australia towards climate and economic disaster. It should instead be doing its best to reduce emissions, phase out fossil fuels, and rapidly scale up renewable energy projects,” said Mr Stock.
The Climate Council has recommended a science-backed emissions reduction target of 75% below 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero by 2035. Banning any new fossil fuel developments, including gas, is a key part of this effort.