THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S new energy strategy must focus on clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage technology and transition Australia away from ageing, polluting and inefficient fossil fuels, including coal and gas, according to the Climate Council.
Climate Council CEO Dr Martin Rice said the Federal Government's new energy strategy announcement this morning raised a collection of concerns, including plans to include coal and gas in Australia's future energy mix and the complete absence of a strong and credible plan to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
"The Federal Government cannot ignore our nation's rising greenhouse gas pollution levels and and failure to address climate change," he said.
"The Federal Government must look to the future, not the past to ensure clean, affordable and reliable electricity. The electricity sector is Australia's largest polluter and therefore has the biggest opportunity to make a real impact on Australia's efforts to tackle climate change.
"The solutions, renewables and storage is here and available now, providing Australians with power on demand, 24/7."
"By 2030, 55% of Australia's ageing coal fleet will reach more than 40 years old, becoming increasingly unreliable and expensive to operate, risking blackouts and increasing the risk of even high consumer power costs," he said.
"Intensifying climate change, as a result of the burning of coal, oil and gas, is driving extreme weather events including severe drought and bushfires we are seeing across Queensland and New South Wales now.
"Australia's old coal clunkers are dinosaurs. In fact, coal and gas power stations across the country have experienced almost 100 breakdowns between December and June alone.
"While the burning of coal is also costing Australian taxpayers around $2.6 billion each year in health costs."
Dr Rice said in the absence of national strong and credible climate and energy policy, state and territory renewable energy targets and state leadership on climate change was essential for Australia's efforts to tackle climate change.
"The solutions to clean, affordable and reliable power, renewable energy and storage technology was the cheapest new form of energy and are available now."
"With Australia's greenhouse gas pollution levels rising year after year since 2015, the ongoing use of coal and gas in Australia will do nothing to effectively tackle climate change or protect Australians from worsening extreme weather events."