Dutton’s climate policy: Let it burn

The Climate Council

THE CLIMATE COUNCIL has slammed the Coalition’s energy scheme as “a smokescreen for its commitment to coal and gas” and “radioactive greenwash”, which would delay Australia’s urgent and accelerating shift to clean energy and away from fossil fuels.

Analysis of Dutton’s scheme shows it has a gaping hole at its heart. Seven standard nuclear reactors would deliver approximately nine gigawatts of energy capacity. With AEMO’s latest plan indicating Australia will need at least 300 gigawatts by 2050, Peter Dutton must reveal where the rest of the power is coming from in his energy scheme: how much more coal and gas will get burned to support this nuclear fantasy?

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said: “The Coalition’s nuclear proposal is a smokescreen for its commitment to climate pollution, a clear case of radioactive greenwashing and a scheme for more climate pollution, it’s that simple.

“The winners from this scheme are the multinational coal and gas corporations who will keep polluting until well past mid-century. On the other hand, as a result of this scheme, Australians will suffer from worsening unnatural disasters due to climate pollution.

“Communities are being pummelled by heatwaves and dangerous bushfires one week, and extreme rainfall and flooding the next. Dutton’s scheme is: let the climate burn, let the mega fires burn, let the sea levels rise, let the heat become unbearable.

“Later is too late – we need clean energy now to slash climate pollution and keep our kids safe. With no workforce, no industry and no waste facilities, nuclear is a generation away in Australia. Nuclear reactors are a dangerous delay tactic that would mean climate pollution explodes in the next two decades.

Dr Jennifer Rayner, Climate Council Head of Policy and Advocacy said: “Under Dutton’s scheme Australians will pay twice: untold billions in direct public funding for nuclear reactors, and even more in lives and livelihoods lost because of worsening climate pollution.

“Our clean energy resources are the envy of the world and we’re well on the path to a clean, reliable energy system with 40 percent of the power in our main national grid already coming from clean wind and solar today.

“Dutton’s scheme does nothing to fix the climate and energy challenges we face now.

“A political party without a real plan for cutting climate pollution can’t be taken seriously in 2024. Australians expect and deserve better, and the bad news for Peter Dutton is: Australians know when they’re being sold a lemon.”

FACT BOX: Separating nuclear fact from fantasy

  • CSIRO found nuclear power is up to eight times more expensive than large-scale wind or solar power. They also estimated a development timeline of at least 15 years for nuclear power.

  • AEMO’s 2024 Integrated System Plan indicates 300 GW of installed capacity will be needed in the National Electricity Market alone by 2050, under the conservative Step Change scenario.

  • AEMO has also projected that all of Australia’s coal-fired generators will close by 2038 under current market conditions. The LNP’s scheme is unlikely to have even the first of any new planned nuclear reactors online by then.

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The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.

/Public Release.