February 15, 2011
A story in today’s Fairfax newspapers criticizing Federal Government climate change programs for not reducing emissions cost-effectively misses the point and contains several inaccuracies, the Alternative Technology Association says.
Ian Porter, chief executive of the ATA, said cost per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions abated was not the only indicator of the success of government-financed climate change programs.
“They are also about engaging and educating the community about climate change, which is a national and global problem. Many of the benefits of climate change programs are hard to reduce to dollars and cents, so we need to be careful how we use simple economic costs and benefits,” Mr Porter said.
The Alternative Technology Association is Australia’s leading not-for-profit, consumer-based organization promoting renewable energy, sustainable building and water conservation.
Damien Moyse, the ATA’s Energy Projects and Policy Manager, said that while the ATA supported an emissions trading scheme, it was not the only policy mechanism for tackling climate change.
Mr Moyse said rooftop solar cost abatement figures quoted in the story were wrong:
“With 50% cost reductions in the small solar market in the past 18 months, the cost of abatement from solar PV is no longer $300 per tonne, but rather in the order of $160 – $170 per tonne, and that doesn’t include the additional electricity network benefits provided by small-scale solar generation,” he said.
Mr Moyse also said the story was wrong in inferring the Howard government’s Remote Renewable Power Generation Program was primarily about least-cost carbon abatement.
“The primary purpose of the program was to provide a secure, reliable supply of electricity for rural and indigenous communities who have no access to the grid, and to get them away from an over-reliance on diesel. Virtually the entire industry supported this program as highly successful over the eight years it ran,” he said.
ATA Chief Executive Officer Ian Porter: 0412 254 200
ATA Energy Policy and Projects Manager Damien Moyse: 0439 900 692