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Green leader Adam Bandt says coal and gas should be phased out by 2030

Greens leader Adam Bandt says Australia could move to a zero emission economy with full employment at the end of the decade at a cost of increasing net debt by $25 billion a year.

Mr Bandt said Australia’s reliance on coal and gas should be phased out entirely over the next decade, as he attacked the federal government’s plan to add more gas to the country’s energy mix.

“Over the next 10 years, we might need some of the existing gas plants but they will phase out over the next 10 years if we had a serious plan to do it,” he told the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday.

“We could get to zero emissions within Australia and become a renewable energy super power that is exporting our sunlight instead of exporting our gas and coal.”

Pressed on what this would cost to achieve, Mr Bandt said: “For somewhere in the order of about $25 billion a year increase in net debt over the next 10 years, we end up with lower debt than most OECD countries and we end up with full employment and 100 per cent renewables.”

Mr Bandt said the decade-deadline to phase out gas and coal was necessary to avoid going over a “cliff” at which point “global warming becomes runaway [and] becomes unstoppable”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has proposed a “gas led recovery” from the coronavirus recession, which includes opening up five new gas fields, supporting new gas pipelines and building a gas-fired power station to help replace AGL’s ageing Liddell coal-fired plant in NSW.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor last week announced an $18 billion energy road map, which centres on a plan to invest in “five priority technologies”: clean hydrogen, electricity from storage, low-carbon steel and aluminium, carbon capture and storage, and soil carbon.

The emphasis on carbon capture and storage has provoked criticism from the environmental movement, which disputes its effectiveness in reducing emissions.

However, the federal government’s latest plans offered no new goals to reduce emissions beyond the current target of 26 per cent by 2030.

Mr Taylor told Sky News on Sunday his focus was on getting the technologies to work.

“As the Prime Minister said last week, the precondition to getting these emission reductions is ensuring that these technologies are successful, that they come into parity with their higher emitting alternatives, so we don’t see economic losses and economic damage in any community in Australia,” Mr Taylor said.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald