5 March 2024

Stop approving fossil fuel projects, Rattenbury tells fellow energy ministers

| Chris Johnson
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Shane Rattenbury

ACT Energy and Emissions Reductions Minister Shane Rattenbury wants an end to new fossil fuel projects nationwide. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

National consistency in climate change policy is improving, but the ACT wants to see more action over proposed fossil fuel projects.

Energy and climate ministers from around Australia converged on Canberra on Friday (1 March) to discuss coordinating strategies for the nation’s pathway to net-zero emissions.

The Energy and Climate Change Ministerial Council agreed to a National Consumer Energy Resources (CER) Roadmap aimed at delivering new consumer protections and network reforms to allow consumers to export more solar power to the grid.

All federal, state and territory ministers also committed to nationally consistent standards in other key areas, including those to enable vehicle-to-grid technologies.

They said such reforms would put downward pressure on both consumers’ bills and overall system costs, and contribute to emissions reduction.

“Reforms in each of these areas are already underway, including streamlining connection processes, making service and installation rules nationally consistent, and establishing standards and a regulatory framework for CER,” their communique said.

“The Commonwealth, state and territory governments are working with market bodies to progress these reforms through a dedicated taskforce that will be supported by a stakeholder reference group.

“Ministers asked senior officials to provide a National CER Roadmap and implementation plan for reforms identified in the work plan, for consideration by ministers at their July 2024 meeting.

“Ministers noted the impacts of the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events on energy system resilience.”

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ACT Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury, said he was delighted to have hosted the council meeting and share the ACT’s strategy to tackle climate change and achieve net-zero emissions by 2045.

But he said there were areas in emissions mitigation policies that needed more attention from some governments – namely, in being more proactive in denying future fossil fuel projects.

Mr Rattenbury said it was imperative all governments committed to increased climate change action.

The gathering of national ministers was a key opportunity to address the nation’s biggest environmental challenge, he said.

But while he appreciated the efforts being made by jurisdictions on climate change, Mr Rattenbury highlighted that inconsistent and detrimental actions were undermining the good work.

“There remains an inescapable truth, which this forum needs to address. Governments must stop approving new fossil fuel projects, whether coal or gas,” he said.

“This ongoing contribution to the burning of fossil fuels risks jeopardising our efforts on climate change.

“The International Energy Agency has clearly spelled out the reality that new fossil fuel projects are incompatible with the planetary goal of keeping the global average temperature increase below 1.5C, yet Australian governments continue to approve new gas and coal projects.

“The defence that ‘we have to supply the market’ makes no sense in this country, where we are blessed with wind and solar energy potential that could make us a global clean-energy powerhouse if we act fast and with high ambition.

“These counter-productive fossil fuel policies are taking us in the wrong direction and are profoundly frustrating for Canberrans, and Australians, who are playing their part in the battle to prevent climate change.”

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Mr Rattenbury shared with the council the ACT’s policies, which include a pathway to full electrification of the ACT, phasing out fossil fuel gas.

The ACT also has the highest uptake of electric vehicles in the country, bolstered by extensive support programs.

“One in five new car sales in the ACT are now an EV. We have 165 electric-vehicle charging bays powered by 136 public chargers and will meet our commitment of 180 public chargers by 2025,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“[And we have] nation-leading schemes and incentives, such as the Sustainable Household Scheme and the Home Energy Support Program, which have already helped thousands of households to transition to efficient electric appliances.”

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Capital Retro10:05 am 06 Mar 24

Incredibly, there is a unanimous negative vibe emerging on this thread against Rattenbury and his flock of fantasists.

He would do well to change direction and support Dutton’s call for nuclear power to save the country from the move to renewables. It would be a good move for Canberra to be able to generate and export zero emission electricity to the grid.

Rattenbury the sooner our society gets rid of you from any form.of so called leadership the better of the planet and society will be.

HiddenDragon8:12 pm 04 Mar 24

“The ACT also has the highest uptake of electric vehicles in the country, bolstered by extensive support programs.”

Someone who understands how the real world works should explain to Shane what would happen to EV sales (and a lot of other discretionary spending) in Canberra if the federal budget was denied the revenues from the industries which the Greens want to shut down and if the Australian dollar was no longer propped up by the foreign exchange earnings of those industries.

Killing off Australia’s fossil fuel extraction industries might be on the agenda if/when the “clean-energy powerhouse”/”renewable energy superpower” mirage becomes an entrenched reality, but in the meantime with public budgets in structural deficit and with most of our political class (with the Greens in the vanguard) preaching from the gospel of entitlement, cutting our own fiscal throats may not be such a smart thing to do.

GrumpyGrandpa5:02 pm 04 Mar 24

According to Mr Rattenbury, “One in five new car sales in the ACT are now an EV.”

The Canberra Times on 5 July 2023, had a different slant on this:
“……The ACT has EV market share of 20 per cent, making it a massive outlier. Much of this down to government fleet adoption”.

Mr Rattenbury, what are the EV percentage of sales, excluding Government fleet purchasers but, including all sales, not just “cars”. IE Include SUVs, Utes, 4WDs etc?

There is no doubt that EV sales are increasing, but the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux are in no danger of losing their lead, because EVs have limitations; range anxiety, battery life, charging times, insurance costs, capacity to tow loads, no spare tyre etc.

It might just be that the biggest risk to the leadership of Rangers and the Hilux is not drivers preference for EVs, but the proposed Government Fuel Efficiency Standards that reportedly could tax non-EVs.

But with all of the huff ‘n puff of governments, major manufacturers like Toyota are saying EVs are a fad and that Hybrids are the future.

Get off your high horse Shane, its a bit rich coming from a minister from a territory that doesn’t currently have and will never have a fossil fuel project/s

What a fool. How do you make steel, plastics and even some medicines without fossil fuels? Obviously someone without any science background ruled by political dogma and ideology over science.

As usual the Greens are pushing their idealogy onto most of the people in Canberra. I would like to hear Shane explain how Canberrans can benefit if we do actually achieve zero net emmissions.

Stephen Saunders11:00 am 04 Mar 24

Boilerplate UN propaganda, Shane. The first energy priority should be to bust the gas export cartel. We are flush with gas, yet paying ridiculous prices, which is hurting electricity prices, which is hurting consumers, and driving away what little manufacturing we have.

But Labor won’t touch the gas cartel, which Gillard in effect set up. They’d much rather hand out consumer energy-subsidies, which come straight out of taxpayers’ pockets.

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