North coast Greens have slammed the Australian Government’s announcement that it would invest $15.4 million over four years to fund a fossil fuel research centre.
Greens candidate for Richmond, Dawn Walker described the Coalition as ‘climate vandals’ after federal industry minister Christopher Pyne announced this week that the body set up to promote oil, gas and nuclear energy, to be known as National Energy Resources Australia (NERA), would ‘promote collaboration and innovation across the energy resources sector’.
‘The Growth Centre will work closely with researchers from universities, CSIRO and Cooperative Research Centres to build links with business and industry organisations,’ Mr Pyne said.
‘Importantly it will also promote industry-led research in priority areas by facilitating deeper engagement between industry and researchers.’
Federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg, said the Growth Centre would ‘help position Australia’s energy and resources sector for the next wave of investment’.
But Ms Walker said she was ‘shocked’ by the Turnbull government’s announcement, ‘which comes just four months after the similar Bjorn Lomborg centre was canned after a public backlash’.
Ms Walker has called on the Turnbull government to invest in renewables instead.
‘It’s hard to believe that four months after the Bjorn Lomborg research centre was canned by the Abbott government, here we have Turnbull trying to resurrect a similar idea,’ she said.
‘It’s ludicrous that while the rest of the world moves away from coal, the Turnbull government is giving more taxpayer money to the fossil fuel lobby by funding a “research” centre.
‘This money should instead be redirected to renewable energy research.
‘The Liberals and Nationals are climate vandals. This government handed back millions of dollars to big polluters by repealing the price on carbon. It wound back the Renewable Energy Target, hamstrung the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, sacked climate scientists from the CSIRO, and allowed the CSIRO’s dedicated marine research vessel to be used by BP and Chevron to explore for oil and gas.
‘We’re in a climate emergency. The Paris climate agreement means we have to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. There is no room for more fossil fuels in a carbon constrained world.
‘Our region is known for innovation through investment in renewable energy projects and cutting edge agricultural practices.
‘People in the northern rivers recognise that there’s more money and jobs in renewables than there are in fossil fuels.
‘If the Turnbull government thinks innovation is about investing in dinosaur age fossil fuels when we’re in the middle of a climate crisis, then they’re destined for extinction.’