PM ‘out of touch’ on climate, says NSW minister
The NSW energy minister has accused the federal government of being out of touch on energy and climate policy and says it's time for a change of course.
NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin has urged the government to end its "climate wars" and provide certainty on reducing emissions, ahead of a meeting with his colleagues from across Australia.
Mr Harwin has made the plea in an opinion piece published in The Australian Financial Review, in which has suggested the federal Liberal-National coalition is out of touch on energy and climate policy.
"We recognise that climate change is a scientific fact," Mr Hawin wrote in the piece published on Wednesday.
"It is the responsibility of all governments to address greenhouse gas emissions into the future.
"We need to end the "climate wars" and put science, economics and engineering ahead of ideology." Mr Harwin will come face-to-face with federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor and his counterparts from the other states and territories at a Council of Australian Governments meeting on Wednesday.
Mr Taylor is hoping to secure agreement at the Adelaide gathering on a policy aimed at improving the reliability of the energy grid by encouraging investment in new generation.
"I look forward to working with my COAG Energy Council colleagues to bring power prices down while ensuring the reliability of the grid," he said. But Mr Harwin has stressed that such energy policies should be matched with efforts to grapple with climate change.
"The NSW government has consistently made it clear that we believe that there should be an integration of climate and energy policy," he said. The Liberal-National NSW government announced a target in 2016 to achieve net- zero emissions by 2050.
Mr Harwin said he will push on Wednesday for the Energy Security Board to provide policy options to ministers to achieve that vision.
"This is the circuit breaker needed." His comments come after the federal government dumped its flagship energy policy - the National Energy Guarantee - in August.
It was aimed at dealing with energy prices, reliability and emissions, but conservatives in the coalition took issue with its emissions targets, with their distaste contributing to Malcolm Turnbull's downfall.
Mr Harwin said the government may have abandoned the National Energy Guantree but it must still "confront the facts".
"The market and industry is looking for certainty on emissions, and policy uncertainty will lead to higher wholesale prices and delayed investment decisions," he said.