Australian Prime Minister John Howard Sunday announced a national target for clean energy production that he said would reduce costs for businesses forced to comply with differing state schemes.
Under the new scheme, 30,000 gigawatt hours of energy must come from sources such as solar or wind power, or fossil fuel-fired electricity generation where carbon is captured and stored, each year by 2020.
Howard said many existing state schemes were ‘contradictory or at the very least dissimilar.’
‘This will reduce costs for business, and ultimately for households,’ he said.
‘It will provide an enormous relief of red tape for business because many face the challenge of having to comply with different schemes in different parts of the country.’
The initiative from the former climate change sceptic drew a mixed reaction, with some conservationists labelling the proposal as inadequate and potentially a backward step.
‘In our view, it’s a standstill target – it’s not actually going to do anything to reduce emissions,’ Denise Boyd of the Australian Conservation Foundation said.
But industry voices said the initiative could drive investment in clean energy technologies.
Howard, whose conservative government has joined the United States in refusing to sign the UN’s Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions, has often said economic growth and climate solutions need not be mutually exclusive.
23 September 2007
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