Ted Baillieu promised at the 2010 Victorian election that he would keep the legislated target of 20% reduction of carbon emissions by 2020 (on 2000 levels) — in fact, the Liberal Party supported this legislation when it came to parliament.
Yesterday, Environment Minister Ryan Smith announced that the Victorian government would dump the target.
With Victoria facing a serious downturn in jobs and investment due to Baillieu’s mismanagement, millions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs will now never be realised. All those jobs in clean energy, wind, solar and other renewable investments will now not happen.
In the past 16 months, the Baillieu Government has scrapped the premium solar feed-in tariff scheme, and has imposed harsh planning restrictions for wind farms that will strangle the wind energy industry.
This approach shows that the Liberal Party just does not view climate change as a real problem.
What is most amazing however is not the betrayal of our climate by Ted Baillieu and the Liberal Party — what is really amazing is the absolute silence and indifference by the Greens Party.
Colleen Hartland, an upper house Greens Party MP in the Western Region (where I live), responded to my query about why there had been no comment on this issue that: “I’m not sure anyone will notice the difference. Labor’s carbon thing didn’t stop HRL.” (The comment, and my response has now been deleted!)
The official Greens Party MP website and the Vic Greens Party site make no mention of Baillieu’s back flip — and indeed, Greg Barber, the Victorian Greens Party leader spent the day in Parliament talking about small business energy costs, and soil facilities in Altona and Lyndhurst.
Environment Victoria, a leading sustainability organisation, describes Baillieu’s betrayal like this:
Without a target to guide clean energy investment and planning decisions, big polluters will continue unabated and major opportunities for jobs and investment in new technologies will be lost. This is seriously destructive.
Mick Power, a lawyer with the highly regarded Environment Defenders Office, says:
By abandoning the 20 per cent target for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions it took to the 2010 election, and winding back the Climate Change Act, the government has formally vacated the climate change policy space.
Surely the Liberal’s decision to scrap this policy would warrant some kind of statement or condemnation. Instead, the Greens Party, supposedly the party of the environment, says:
I’m not sure anyone will notice the difference.
Of course, we should remember that Greg Barber was the Greens Party MP who said that shutting down Hazelwood, Australia’s most polluting power station, was not a requirement if he was required to negotiate with a minority Liberal government. With a record like this, it’s hardly surprising that Greg Barber and the other Greens Party MPs should barely raise a peep at this major destructive Liberal policy back-flip.
“With the stroke of a pen, Ted Baillieu has sent renewable energy investors a clear message – Victoria is closed for business,” Ms Neville said.
“This Government is sending Victoria’s energy policy back to the 1950s.
Which party is the party of action on climate change?
[box]UPDATE: I have just discovered that after several years of being “Facebook friends” with Greens Party MP Colleen Hartland, she has unfriended me, presumably because I questioned her over why the Greens Party haven’t criticised Ted Baillieu over his dumping of the carbon target.[/box]