Climate Change and Energy

The climate challenge is also an opportunity to transform Australia into a carbon-neutral powerhouse that creates new jobs and a cleaner planet.

Principles

The Australian Greens believe that:

  1. Human induced climate change poses the greatest threat to our world and civilisation and urgent and sustained local, national and global action is required to ensure a safe climate.
  2. A safe climate will require a return to an atmospheric concentration of 350 parts per million or lower of greenhouse gases (and CO2 equivalents).
  3. Current global climate change is primarily caused by human activities contributing to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and is already contributing to disruption of human societies through sea level rise, extreme weather events, desertification, harm to health, wellbeing and other effects. This is the overwhelming consensus of the international scientific community.
  4. Climate change will result in the displacement of people, creating environmental refugees and intensifying the threat of regional and global conflict.
  5. Australia is a wealthy nation and is ideally placed to be a world leader in addressing climate change rather than being one of the largest per capita contributors. The Greens are committed to ensuring that Australia actively participates in taking that lead.
  6. Australia needs to urgently and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, actively support international mitigation measures to reduce global emissions, and plan to adapt to climate change impacts which are now inevitable.
  7. Early action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will ultimately be fairer and more cost effective than delaying action.
  8. The cost of creating an economy that supports a safe climate and adaptation to climate change must be distributed fairly, both domestically and between nations.
  9. Australia has extensive renewable energy resources, and these resources should be utilised for the benefit of all Australians.
  10. Many of the harshest impacts of climate change will fall on the people and groups already experiencing disadvantage. Addressing climate change and building a just society go hand in hand.
  11. The equity principle must be at the core of climate change negotiations and measures and the social impacts of the transition to an economy that supports a safe climate.
  12. Australia must use its scientific, diplomatic and economic influence to promote the development and deployment of non-polluting alternatives to fossil fuel based energy.
  13. Energy prices should reflect the environmental and social costs of production and use.
  14. Subsidies to the fossil fuel sector, including funding for research and development, should be removed, while investment in the renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport sectors should be increased.
  15. The major refurbishment of existing coal fired power stations, except for transitions to renewable energy, undermines the effort to increase end-use energy efficiency, demand management and renewable energy.
  16. Australia needs to plan for a future that does not rely on fossil fuels for export or electricity generation.
  17. Just transition assistance should be provided to communities and workers affected by closure of fossil fuel based mining and electricity generation industries.
  18. Australia has a responsibility to assist other nations, particularly in our region, to create safe climate economies, and adapt to climate change through appropriate technology transfer and other forms of assistance including resettling and rehousing displaced populations where required. 

Aims

The Australian Greens want:

  1. Net zero or net negative Australian greenhouse gas emissions within a generation.
  2. A leading role for Australia in negotiation of a multilateral emission abatement treaty which shares the burden equitably, recognising the proportionately greater historical and current contribution of wealthy industrialised nations to climate change.
  3. Binding national emission targets for each year through to 2050 supported by a detailed strategy to reduce emissions from all sectors.
  4. An equitable transition to a net zero carbon economy through a range of market-based and regulatory mechanisms including a strong, effective price on carbon.
  5. A low greenhouse trigger in the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC), ensuring Federal oversight of developments which are liable to have a significant impact on domestic or global greenhouse emissions.
  6. A national system of energy efficiency targets and stringent Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for products, buildings and infrastructure.
  7. 100% of stationary electricity in Australia to come from renewable sources as soon as possible, by increasing the renewable energy target (RET) and, in addition, measures such as feed-in tariffs and regulations to support a range of renewable energy generation, storage and conservation technologies.
  8. Exclusion from the RET of new large-scale hydroelectric power stations and all electricity from burning native forests.
  9. Reform of electricity markets to remove the bias towards centralised fossil fuel-based generation and encourage demand management and the development of distributed generation and renewable energy.
  10. To build support in the community for urgent action to achieve a safe climate.
  11. The rapid rollout of smart technology, including meters, appliances, grids and energy storage, with measures to reduce the financial impact on people on low or fixed incomes.
  12. To build capacity within our communities and industries to develop and expand local renewable energy, including through increasing community ownership of energy production and storage.
  13. No new coal-fired power stations or coal mines, and no expansions to any existing power stations or mines, plus the development of programs to assist coal-dependent communities to make the transition to other more sustainable sources of economic prosperity.
  14. The adoption of the precautionary principle in relation to carbon capture and storage (geosequestration) by opposing public funding, and ensuring that companies are financially responsible for the risks of CO2 leakage.
  15. To use the Government's vehicle fleet procurement policies to contribute to the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions, including through the use of zero emission vehicles.
  16. Research, development and commercialisation of sustainable fuels which demonstrably reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and do not threaten biodiversity or food security.
  17. Research, development and commercialisation of carbon neutral technologies for manufacturing and industry, particularly replacing the direct use of fossil fuels in industrial processes.
  18. Research, development and commercialisation aimed at converting renewable energy into exportable resources.
  19. The development and expansion of robust distribution networks for sustainable alternative fuels and charging facilities for electric vehicles.
  20. Corporations exporting fossil fuels to be required to include in their annual reports the quantities of greenhouse gases embodied in their exports, whether or not liability for those emissions is covered by the laws of the recipient country.
  21. An Australian government investment policy that divests from all fossil fuel extraction and consumption.
  22. Improved planning for coastal communities that could be affected by sea level rises.