Climate action must not be a casualty in climate extremes

Action on sustainable energy must not be deferred by the floods, but rather must be built into rebuilding the flood-impacted regions of eastern Australia, says the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia (SEA).

‘Climate action must not be a casualty in climate-related disasters,’ says Prof. Ray Wills, SEA Chief Executive.

SEA is especially concerned about the changes in funding solar initiatives. Around the world, growth in renewable energy investments is now greater than any other energy investment – except for Australia.

"Cuts in the solar flagships and solar hot water were programs that would create real projects and outcomes and these should be accelerated, not delayed.

"Policy flip flops and lack of certainty have plagued programs that have been intended to facilitate the startup of sustainable energy markets.

"One example is the uncertainty to business involved in the solar flagships process. One significant, globally-respected company has withdrawn as a potential bidder because of the delays and vagaries of the shortlisting process.

"The Federal Government is failing to offer certainty to the market – certainty that allows businesses to make decisions on investments on the best low-emissions and no-emissions technologies to build for Australia’s energy security and economy.

"While SEA does not want to see axing or delaying of the solar work, if the Federal Government ensures that the funds salvaged are targeted to rebuilding green, this may be an effective market mechanism to deliver a stimulus to a green housing market, and to more climate ready infrastructure.

"Indeed, Federal Government monies must be handed out with a caveat that the money is used to ensure a recovery that is sustainable in the full sense of the word.

"As a business chamber, SEA would not countenance taxpayer funds wasted on ineffective programs, and some of the programs targeted have been characterised and criticised as being unlikely to deliver the results claimed anyway.

"But the savings arising from those programs must contribute to sustainable building programs in reconstruction.

"Building green will not only help reduce future energy bills but also support community resilience to future climate-related events – events that global warming will make more extreme.

"The Government is focussed on the word crisis, and are missing the immediately available opportunity that is available to Australian markets - Australia is the Middle East of renewable."

Media contact:

Prof Ray Wills 0430 365 607

Note to editors:

1. The Sustainable Energy Association of Australia (SEA) is a chamber for all enterprises from all industries supporting sustainable energy, and the fastest growing energy industry body in Australia.

2. SEA bringing you the Energising South East Asia Conference and Exhibition, 23-26 March 2011, a sustainable energy conference and expo Perth, Western Australia.

3. Summary of cuts

Cuts and deferrals Solar Flagships also total $250 million over five years, with this year's spending untouched and $125 million saved between 2011-12 and 2012-13.

* SEA Comment – disappointing that this program continues to be reinvented every year with promises on solar projects starting with promises under a Howard Government and no government yet funding a significant project in this space.

Abandoning the cash-for-clunkers election promise (saving $429 million);

* SEA Comment – SEA is supportive of cash-for-clunkers, just not this one; the best return on investment in a cash for clunker scheme would be one that targeted the commercial sector, not the domestic sector, and this election promise failed to do that.

CCS Flagships program savings comprise $90 million in actual cuts and $160 million in deferrals beyond 2014-15, meaning the total life-of-program allocation now stands at $1.81 billion.

* SEA Comment – minor saving: mostly a deferral of spending; SEA view is the CCS program is not delivering value anyway.

Saving $55 million through cuts and deferred funding for the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute;

* SEA Comment – minor saving: mostly a deferral of spending; SEA view is the GCCSI is not yielding results nor delivering value anyway.

Abolishing the Green Car Innovation Fund ($234 million);

* SEA Comment – the Green Car Innovation Fund was neither green nor innovative and is no loss, but action in this space with a better program on greening Australia’s car fleet is warranted and needed.

Capping funding for solar hot water and heat pump rebates (saving $160 million this financial year and next);

* SEA Comment – this is a poor outcome; this is/was a good program creating real emissions reductions.

Not proceeding with the 'Green Start' household environmental assessment program (a move announced in December and saving $129 million over this year and next);

* SEA Comment – not a real cut as the end of this already previously announced prior to the floods.

Capping annual grants for LPG conversions (saving $96 million over 2011-12 to 2013-14);

* SEA Comment – LPG conversions is not a ‘green’ outcome – LPG is about bolstering a domestic fuel source (a logical goal), but does result in a significant reduction of emissions; and

Limiting expenditure on remaining solar PV rebates under the Solar Homes and Communities Plan (saving $85 million this financial year).

* SEA Comment – this program was already at end of life and being run down



....from King Coal and its polly whores.

Anyone wondered that the deforestation, concreting and tarring in the high suburbs of Toowoomba enabled that tsunami to build up because the water couldn't soak into the ground?

Anyone wondered whether land clearance in the Lockyer Valley could have facilitated that tsunami to gather?

Anyone wondering what toxins from mines are now travelling and soaking in across Australia with the waters?

Diet Simon

This is why preemptive action is legitimate - it must be stopped with appropriate means before it is irreversible with appropriate means. A world where everything that is not declared toxic can be expected to be harmless can easily turn into a world where everything that is not declared harmless must be expected to be toxic. Just like a society where everything that is not forbidden is allowed can collapse into a society where everything that is not allowed is forbidden. Obviously the other way round is a more difficult effort. High profile climatic events do not like to be poisoned and might retaliate by distributing the poison. Maybe that is their way to pass the message that it should never have been inserted there in the first place?