Anthony Albanese’s victory in Australia suggests a shift in climate policy.
Kathmandu: For Australia, which is one of the world’s largest per-capita carbon emitters and top coal and gas exporters, the choice of politicians running to address climate change represents a significant shift.
Australia’s election has brought in a wave of Greens and independents pushing for aggressive targets to cut carbon emissions.
The election result, with climate change playing such a significant part, marks a significant shift for Australia, which is one of the world’s largest per-capita carbon emitters and top coal and gas exporters. It was ignored at last year’s Glasgow climate meeting for failing to meet the high targets set by other ambitious nations.
“Together we can end the climate wars,” incoming Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in his victory speech. “Together we can take advantage of the opportunity for Australia to be a renewable energy superpower.”
A senior Labor MP praised the gas industry two days before the election for constructing mega-projects that create large exports, which are expected to total 70 billion Australian dollars ($50 billion) this year.
Labor’s main climate plans are to increase demand for electric vehicles through tax benefits, provide 20 billion Australian dollars ($14 billion) in low-cost financing for new renewable energy transmission projects, and tighten the country’s emissions “safeguard mechanism.”
With the increasing cost of materials used in power lines, solar and wind farms, Labor’s ambition to attain 82 percent renewable energy by 2030 may be hampered. Power prices are expected to rise at the same time, owing to high global coal and gas prices.
“The next couple of years look awful for energy users, and whoever’s in government will be under pressure over that,” said Tennant Reed, climate and energy policy head at Australian Industry Group.