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National Energy Guarantee should be more ambitious: environmentalists

By Thomas Moir

As the Victorian Government stuck to its demands on the National Energy Guarantee yesterday, Goulburn Valley environmentalists agreed the agreement should be more ambitious if it was to achieve meaningful action.

Energy ministers reached a compromise on the Federal Government’s energy plan in a decision the policy architect said was a great step forward.

But the Victorian Government was standing firm on a series of demands to be met before it signed on.

Former Greens candidate and local farmer Ian Christoe believed the NEG’s proposed targets were too weak to get meaningful action on carbon emissions.

He said a more robust scheme to bring down carbon emissions was needed, stressing the proposed 26 per cent emissions reduction target would be insufficient to meet Australia’s Paris Agreement targets.

‘‘For the current scheme to be endorsed without modification would be a backward step,’’ Mr Christoe said.

SLAP Tomorrow’s John Pettigrew said there was no question a scheme, which included all states and the Federal Government, was needed to ensure certainty.

But he believed the proposed targets were not high enough and the scheme should not prevent states from following more ambitious targets.

‘‘I like the idea in having as much flexibility as possible with those targets, and the ability to up them,’’ Mr Pettigrew said.

‘‘I think there shouldn’t be all states linked into that target... some states want to go beyond it, that should be welcomed.’’com‘‘I need some comfort that this is where it starts,’’ he said.

Mr Pettigrew said the Victorian Government needed to advocate in the interests of the state and ‘‘not (be) lending ourselves to lowest common denominator’’.

State and territory energy ministers agreed at yesterday’s meeting in Sydney yesterday that that consultation on draft legislation would kick off if the policy makes it through the coalition party room at a meeting in Canberra on Tuesday.

That move meets one of Victoria’s demands, but Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio still wants confirmation the emissions reduction target can only ever be increased, it will be set by regulation and will be reset every three years.