Renewable Energy Target report ‘written by climate deniers, for climate deniers’


The controversial Renewable Energy Target (RET) review, led by climate sceptic Dick Warburton, has finally been published, with the panel unsurprisingly recommending that the scheme be scaled back or totally abolished by 2030. The government has repeatedly given iron-clad assurances that it is committed to supporting the RET, but as the review’s scope was narrowed to economic impacts – excluding the broader environmental, health and social benefits renewables bring – it has led to it being dubbed “a report written by climate change deniers, for climate change deniers” engaged in an ideologicalculture war. The pressure is now on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to listen to the 95 per cent of Australians that support renewable energy; and to not fight the future by swinging the wrecking ball and undermining Australia’s inevitable renewable energy transition.


  • MT @cleannrgcouncil: What would cutting #RET really do? Cut jobs, investment, & raise bills
  • RT @willozap: In conclusion Hector the Coal Lump doesn’t like RET but does like coal

Key Points

  • The Renewable Energy Target (RET) was brought in to reduce carbon emissions and transition Australia’s dirty energy system to a clean and sustainable one, and it was doing its job exceptionally well. The RET is not about meeting new demand with clean sources of power, it is about replacing dirty forms of power with clean ones as we simultaneously get more efficient in our use of energy overall. Australia’s energy system is ageing, inefficient and unprepared for the future, and those dirty sources of power need to be replaced with clean ones.
  • Thanks to the RET Australia now has 1.3 million solar homes; 24,000 renewable energy jobs, and has emitted 22 million tonnes less carbon. If the RET Is slashed, 21,000 jobs will be at risk, including 5,800 in the solar industry.


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Images: Save solar (Solar Citizens), What’s driving up electricity costs? (The Australia Institute), RET Review wrecking ball (AYCC)

Key quotes

  • “If the Prime Minister adopts either of the two most likely options proposed by Dick Warburton’s review, he will be marked forever as a leader with a blind ideological vendetta to destroy policies which benefit the environment. With over 95 per cent  of Australians in favour of renewable energy, Prime Minister Abbott’s attempts to weaken Australia’s Renewable Energy Target is surely his most unpopular and backward-looking policy yet.” Head of Program for Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Ben Pearson.
  • “If the Prime Minister thinks that all of his backbenchers can keep [their] jobs while 8,000 people in the solar industry lose theirs, well I’ve got to tell you you’ve got another thing coming.” The Solar Council’s John Grimes.
  • “It is inconceivable that the review could objectively recommend slashing the RET when its own economic modelling showed this would lead to higher power bills in the long run, while at the same time smashing billions of dollars of investment. It is particularly naive to suggest that slashing the target would not have a massive impact on businesses that have invested on the basis of a legislated policy scheduled to operate out to 2030, and with over a decade of bipartisan support to date.” Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton.
  • “This is a report written by climate change deniers, for climate change deniers, and it shows.” Labor’s shadow climate change spokesman Mark Butler.
  • “The RET review is part of the dinosaur protection racket – an $8 billion favour for Tony Abbott’s mates in the fossil fuels sector, at the expense of clean technology.” Greens leader Christine Milne.
  • “Clearly the process has been highly flawed. There was already an independent body tasked with reviewing the Renewable Energy Target, the Climate Change Authority. Unfortunately a Panel was convened with a number of people with a well-known history of working closely with the fossil fuel industry. It is crucial that reviews like this are independent and at arms length from those with a vested interest. The public cannot have confidence in this process as vested interests are simply too close to it.” Climate Councillor Tim Flannery.
  • “While the Target has helped millions of Aussies take control of their energy bills by installing solar, there are still millions more who want to do the same. A move to change or axe the Target would indicate the Coalition Government has no real commitment to lowering the cost of living and no desire to support the only source of power whose costs are coming down.” Solar Citizens Campaigns Director Claire O’Rourke.
  • “The Warburton Review would kneecap Australia’s energy and climate policies. It turns a blind eye to our massive fossil fuel subsidies and longer term climate change objectives. And it ignores the growing global action on clean energy investment and climate change. If the government accepts the changes proposed by the Warburton Review, it would see Australia increase the amount of coal in our generation mix effectively re-carbonising, rather than de-carbonising our electricity.” CEO of The Climate Institute, John Connor.

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More tweets

  • RT @GrogsGamut: The RET review reads like a Penthouse forum letter for coal fired power generation
  • MT @TommiiButler: Warburton suggests that consumers pay coal generators $15B instead of investing in renewables! #RET
  • RT @CherishBlueDot: Is the #RET a market-distorting subsidy? We looks at the claims in a new #factcheck #climate #RET
  • RT @KetanJ0: Panel recommends target should be axed because another scheme that was just axed is a better alternative