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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Climate activists protest Julia Gillard over ALP climate change policy

ALP policy on climate change action has been strongly criticised by environment and climate action groups with protests at Julia Gillard's climate change policy launch in Brisbane, and protests at Julia Gillard's Werribee electoral office and her Melbourne Treasury Place office.

Related: Climate activists lock on at Gillard's office to protest pathetic ALP policy | Photos at Treasury Place protest

Bradley Smith from Friends of the Earth confronted Julia Gillard at the climate policy launch at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. After being physically tackled and lead aware by Federal police Bradley told reporters that to take real action on climate hange the Prime Minister has to address the coal industry "but the coal miners have got her tongue" he said.

"We gave Labor a mandate to take climate action 3 years ago. What she announced today is just another delay tactic. She is essentially turning back the clock to before we ratified Kyoto, to before the Garnaut review. This backwards step will come at an enormous cost, and we cannot let that happen without protest." Bradley said in a media statement.

"40,000 coal seam gas wells in Queensland's darling downs, 11 new coal fired power stations, and huge expansions of coal rail and ports, that's Julia Gillard's real climate policy, and it's condemning our future." he said.

"Scientists have been telling us we need to take action on climate change for a long time. The government have had a mandate to take strong action on climate change for the last three years. That's what the election was about three years ago, and we've seen no action. So I feel the need to do whatever I can because it's not just about me, it's about the whole planet." Bradley told triple j radio Hack program.

In Melbourne, two actions ocurred. Two activists 'locked-on' to a door in Julia Gillard's Weribee electoral office, while climate activists from Environment Victoria and other climate action groups gathered outside the Prime Minister's Melbourne office. Environment Victoria campaigns director Mark Wakeham said in a media statement "The promise that new coal-fired power stations will have to be 'carbon capture ready' is greenwash, particularly given that the commitment does not apply to the 15 existing proposals to build new coal-fired power stations,"

"In effect, today's announcement gives the green light for 15 new coal-fired power stations nationally, including the HRL proposal in Victoria. It allows power stations like Hazelwood to keep polluting. And it signals a complete lack of leadership on climate change from a Gillard Government. "Promises that future proposals for coal-fired power stations would have to be carbon capture ready are meaningless. I'm Tattslotto-winning ready, but it's probably not going to happen" Mark Wakeham said.

Mr Wakeham also condemned the creation of a community panel as another cynical delaying tactic. "We don't appoint citizens juries to decide whether or not to send troops into conflict or to design our tax scheme. This is just another delaying tactic. The ALP designed a similar process with the Garnaut Review last election. The review spent 12 months studying the issues, and then the Labor Party largely ignored its findings. Now they are proposing to spend another year on another process which will have zero impact on our levels of greenhouse pollution."

"At the last election voters showed their support for climate action, and poll after poll consistently shows the majority of Australians want to see action to rapidly reduce our greenhouse pollution, not more delays" concluded Mr Wakeham.

The Climate Institute's CEO John Connor said the ALP's climate policy provided small steps forwad but the policy falls far short for a credible plan to tackle climate change and carbon emissions pollution.

"A credible plan needs to have a limit and price tag on pollution, needs to make polluters take responsibility for pollution and have investments and incentives to make clean energy cheaper. A credible plan needs to demonstrate how parties can achieve their international commitments to achieve up to 25 % reductions off 2000 levels of pollution by 2020." John Connor said.

"Today's announcement has welcome repeated support of the need for a limit and price on pollution but gives no guarantees for either. There is some encouragement for businesses taking responsibility for their pollution and some extra funding to make clean energy cheaper but we still rate the Government policy at 1 star out of five. Preliminary analysis of the pollution reduction potential of the policy announcements under our Pollute-o-meter sees very little change pre-2020 with current Government policies still witnessing increased pollution levels by 2020."

In comparison, the Climate Institute ranks the Coalition parties climate policy at just half a star out of five and will also see pollution increasing out to 2020. You can access the Climate Institute's Pollute-o-meter to assess the major parties on climate change action.

"We welcome the investment in clean energy and smart grids which is a good down payment but short of what is needed to make strides forward in making clean energy cheaper." concluded John Connor.

On Friday the Greens released a plan for 100% renewable energy for Australia. Under the plan Infrastructure Australia would be tasked with: mapping the renewable energy resource areas of Australia; bringing all levels of government, local communities and renewable energy developers together in consultation; and creating renewable energy development zones based on the mapped areas, with streamlined approval processes and funding connection of the zones to the electricity grid.