Election candidates discuss climate and renewables

“Climate change is a political choice.”
~ Mike Smyth, Chair of Energy4All, speaking at the Community Energy Conference in the United Kingdom in 2015


If you are going to vote in the Victorian state election, which is just around the corner now, we hope you will spend a bit of time on finding out how the various Victorian parties and independent candidates intend to deal with the climate emergency.

One way of getting clarity on this is to listen to what the candidates for the Victorian state election on 24 November 2018 had to say about climate change, renewable energy and wind turbines when Michell Dye held a series of election candidate forums on 94.7 The Pulse on 5, 6 and 7 November 2018.

That will take you on a nine hour marathon-journey of listening, though, so to save you time, we’ve prepared this special 36-minute energy and climate-focused excerpt from Mitchell’s forums:

In this 36-minute excerpt you will hear statements on climate and energy from most of the running parties. Find details about the excerpts and links to longer versions further below.

Pledge to be a climate voter

The Climate Election: Be a climate voter

The Australian Conservation Foundation wrote: “Let’s call on our next government to make laws to stop climate damage. No more burning coal. Switch to clean energy. Pledge to be a climate voter.”

» Sign the petition on www.acf.org.au/vote_climate

Western Victorian Candidates Forum at The Pulse

Info pageListen to the forum in full length

Audio excerpt: In this three-minute clip, Lloyd Davies from The Greens and Andy Meddick from the Animal Justice Party talk about the climate emergency and what they think needs to get done about it.

In the 36-minute excerpt, you will also be hearing the candidates commenting on these two topics:

A) On future energy prices
1. Stuart Grimley, Derryn Hinch Justice Party
2. Frances Beaumont, Democratic Labour Party
3. Tim Gooden, Victorian Socialists
4. Bev McArthur, Liberal
5. Lloyd Davies, The Greens
6. Andy Meddick, Animal Justice Party

B) Do you support the Victorian government’s renewable energy target and strategies?
1. Tim Gooden, Victorian Socialists
2. Stuart Grimley, Derryn Hinch Justice Party
(3. Andy Meddick, Animal Justice Party)
4. Bev McArthur, Liberal
5. Lloyd Davies, The Greens
6. Frances Beaumont, Democratic Labour Party

South Barwon Candidates Forum at The Pulse

Info pageListen to the forum in full length

Audio excerpt: Six-minute discussion about the Victorian government’s renewable energy target which is to have 40% clean renewable energy in the state’s electricity grid by 2025.

a) Do you support the Victorian government’s renewable energy target – the VRET?
1. Andrew Katos, Liberal
2. Marian Smedley, The Greens
3. Damien Cole, independent
4. Darren Cheeseman, Labor

Audio excerpt: Four-minute discussion about the new wind farms which are being constructed in the Geelong region

b) Question to Andrew Katos: Why have you chosen to support anti-wind farm protestors?
1. Andrew Katos, Liberal
2. Damien Cole, independent
3. Marian Smedley, The Greens
4. Darren Cheeseman, Labor

Polwarth Candidates Forum at The Pulse

Info pageListen to the forum in full length

Audio excerpt: Three-minute discussion about the Victorian government’s renewable energy target which is to have 40% clean renewable energy in the state’s electricity grid by 2025.

Do you support the Victorian government’s renewable energy target – the VRET?

1. Damien Pitts, Animal Justice Party: yes
2. Richard Riordan, Liberal: no
3. Courtney Gardner, The Greens: yes

This material has been selected and republished with permission from Michell Dye and 94.7 The Pulse.

Party policies on energy and climate

• Coalition energy policy

“With the cost of power now out of control, a Liberal Nationals Government will facilitate the construction of a new Victorian power station of at least 500MW to cut the cost of soaring electricity prices.”

The Liberal Party is considering subsidising a dirty gas or coal power station if they win the election, and would keep Yallourn power station polluting till 2032. This is on top of their plan to scrap the Victorian Renewable Energy Target.

» Read more on vic.liberal.org.au

See also:

» The Guardian – 17 November 2018:
Turnbull says climate change has become a ‘third rail’ for Liberal party
“Former PM tells Bar Association that policy remains evasive as long as group of Coalition MPs believes climate change is a fraud.”

Oliver Yates is a member of the Liberal party, chair for Rise Renewables, and former Chief Executive Officer for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation

» The Guardian – 16 November 2018:
Liberals need to pay attention to protest votes – they are proving costly

• Labor energy policy

Under Victoria’s current legislated renewable energy target, 25 per cent of the state’s energy must come from renewable sources by 2020, and the target rises to 40 per cent by 2025.

Visiting a solar business in the marginal seat of Morwell, Premier Daniel Andrews pledged that a re-elected Labor government would require half of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2030.

Labor plans to install solar panels on more than 700,000 homes.

» Read more on www.premier.vic.gov.au/tag/energy

However, as Yarra Climate Action Now newsletter reported, there is also another side to Labor’s coal policy which get no mention in their election campaigning:

Labor still in the pocket of Big Coal?
“YCAN members Kerry and Geoff met with local MP and Planning Minister Richard Wynne last month. They were pleased to hear Mr Wynne’s positive statements about his government’s support for renewables. However, we were stunned to read in the Age soon after that Mr Wynne had used his ministerial powers to fast-track the construction of a coal-to-hydrogen project at Hastings – something he hadn’t mentioned at the meeting! The hydrogen is for export to Japan. Local government planning approval was bypassed, as it seems was any consultation with Infrastructure Victoria.

Following the Premier’s decision earlier this year to renew coal licences in Victoria, it is regrettable that the Victorian Labor party does not see lowering emissions by ceasing to burn coal as a matter of urgency.”

• Greens energy policy

The Greens have the most ambitious plan of the three biggest parties, aiming for 100% renewable energy by 2030, with publicly owned wind and solar farms.

“Binding Victorian greenhouse gas emission targets from the stationary energy sector in line with a consistent reduction to zero or net negative greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.

Phasing out the Victorian use of fossil fuels using a combination of energy efficiency, energy storage, energy conservation and renewable energy.”

» Read more on www.greens.org.au/vic/policies/energy-policy

• Save the Planet energy policy

Save the Planet Party’s climate and energy policies are to be rolled out at emergency speed over a ten year period. They fall into the following areas:

• Eliminating net emissions of greenhouse gases
• Returning to a safe climate (pre-industrial temperature and ocean heat and acidity)
• Emergency speed cooling to avoid current and near term climate related disasters.
• Preparing for climate change (that is not avoided)
• Creating a sustainable future​

This includes: 100% renewable energy system based on solar concentrating thermal, wind, solar PV and some biomass back up, no new investments in fossil fuel exploration, production and use, and rapid phase out of fossil fuel production and use.

» Home page: www.voteplanet.net

• Real Democracy Party energy policy

Real Democracy Party is a new party which campaigns on “building a fair and sustainable Australia”

The party wants Australia to be carbon neutral by 2030.

“Climate action is not a hobby-horse for a particular social science theory or love of a particular technological tool. Effective emissions reductions and technological change must be brought about by the right and effectively implemented, evidence based, economic, political and social tools.”

A member of the Real Democracy Party, Rod Upward, wrote on Facebook:

“The impending climate change catastrophe – to me – is the greatest failure of our civilisation since we became a civilisation. However, on a personal level, I have kids so I don’t have time to accept an awful dystopian fate for them without a bloody big blue too. I want to see my kids grow up in a world that has ecological diversity, cultural opportunity. I want them to have a future!

One of the main reasons I am a member of the Real Democracy Party is because I looked around at the political choices in Australia – and I realised – none of them are taking the big issues seriously – none of them are looking for solutions – none of them are taking climate change really seriously.

The Real Democracy Party has the most credible and compelling climate change policy position that I can find in Australian political groups. It is light years ahead of the LNP, (which isn’t hard because their climate change is predicated upon the ‘bs’ they have become famous for.) It is also light years ahead of the ALP and the Greens, because both these political groups are so caught up in their lite neoliberalism they don’t appreciate what is possible in the time we need to make a positive change.”

» Real Democracy Party’s home page:

» Real Democracy Party:
Anchoring Australian Climate Policy in Reality

• Sustainable Australia’s energy and environment policy

• “Transition to renewable energy
• Moratorium on all fracking
• Increase conservation management funding and employment
• Enhance biodiversity and native species programs
• Protect animal habitats from housing and farming land clearing
• End old growth forest logging
• Minimise factory farming
• Reduce waste production
• Slow population growth (so all of the above isn’t undermined); & more.”

» Read more on www.sustainableaustralia.org.au/vic


Environment Victoria’s score card for this election

“As an independent charity, we believe the public deserves to know where their elected representatives stand on issues related to our environment. Right now, key clean energy and climate change policies do not have the support of all parties in Victoria — see how the parties compare in our election scorecard.”

» Environment Victoria’s scorecard:
Find out where the parties stand on clean energy and climate change

Victorian Election: Minor party positions on clean energy and environment

In the media

» USA TODAY – 16 November 2018:
Voters across US chose climate leaders

» The Guardian – 16 November 2018:
Greens policy would outlaw thermal coal as it is ‘no longer compatible’ with human life
“Under Greens policy, it would no longer be legal to dig, burn or ship thermal coal by 2030.”

» Friends of the Earth Melbourne – 12 November 2018:
Liberal party support for new gas & coal a dangerous option when renewables are ready

» ABC News – 8 November 2018:
In Victorian election, Coalition appeals to motorists as Labor pitches to Greens voters

» The Age – 28 October 2018:
Fringe factor: your guide to the minor parties