Thursday, May 14, 2009

The 2009 federal budget does not move as to a low carbon future

Summarising the environmental & energy items in the 2009 Federal Budget:

The Government will invest $4.5 billion (including $1 billion of existing funding) in a new Clean Energy Initiative, including:
  • $465 million for the establishment of a renewable technology innovation body, Renewables Australia (could be good, if they don't sanction burning forests for fuel)
  • $1.5 billion for a Solar Flagships Program aiming to establish 1,000 megawatts of solar electricity generation (looks good, a step in the right direction)
  • $2 billion over nine years for investment in large-scale Carbon Capture and Storage demonstration projects (not good - this should be funded by the coal industry, not taxpayers).
Additional sustainability programs funded under the Budget include:

  • $2.75 billion ($2.45 billion existing funding) to the Climate Change Action Fund under the CPRS, to inform and position business, industry and community on the impacts of a low carbon economy (This looks like a huge amount of greenwash for the CPRS? The money would be better spent on clean energy provision)
  •  $100 million per annum to establish the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute to inform global action on the development and commercialization of this technology (not good, this is more corporate welfare for the coal industry)
  • $100 million per annum over three years to the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund. (not sure about this one, if the the fund delivers genuine clean energy this would be OK).

For those that want more detail, the Climate Change Budget Overview 2009—10 provides a summary of the Government's climate change strategy, describing the objectives of each measure and the providing the name of the agencies who will implement them.

Overall, for I give it 2/10 for transitioning us to a low carbon economy and off coal.  There is far too much corporate welfare gifted to the coal industry, and not enough directed to efficiency measures and genuine clean energy.

1 comment:

Grant said...

Peter, I believe that the Government is moving ahead slowly as they know that targets, no matter how big or small, will not be achieved if the business community, and Mr and Mrs Average do not accept it (refer Canada where business and Mr and Mrs Average did not accept Canada's target, and they cam to horrible grief).
To this end, the Government has to spend considerable money on education, and for some time heavily subsidise industry and Mr and Mrs Average from price increases.
In budget summary articles, economists suggest that costs involved with the CPRS will be:
1. 2011 - 4+ billion
2. 2012 - 12 billion
3. 2013 - 13 billion.
These increased costs to business will be passed directly to consumers, so without subsidies, the Government would have a real problem at the next election.