Australia’s government struck agreement with opponents yesterday for 20 percent of the country’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2020 — more than twice the current level — unlocking a US$22 billion investment rush and reviving hopes of a later emissions trade deal.
In a peace offering in its row with the government over climate-change policy, the conservative opposition controlling the largest Senate vote bloc said it had reached agreement with Climate Minister Penny Wong after days of negotiations.
“Today’s decision is a victory for common sense, it’s a victory for the environment and it’s a victory for renewable energy,” conservative environment spokesman Greg Hunt told reporters after striking the deal.
While the Senate will not formally vote until today on the deal, the agreement raised hopes of a follow-on in November when controversial emissions trade laws will return to parliament, where they were rejected by the Senate last week.
The law would quadruple the renewable energy target set by the previous government in 2001 and provide enough clean electricity to power the households of all 21 million Australians.
The target matches one set in 2007 by the EU, which leads the world in green power technology. Many US states also have set renewable energy targets although there is no national goal.
But critics argue the Australian target will make electricity more expensive in the coal-rich nation without curbing the amount of climate-warming carbon gases that the nation emits, as overall electricity consumption rises.
Currently, 8 percent of Australia’s electricity comes from renewable sources, including hydroelectric generators built late last century, the private Clean Energy Council said.
The proposed amendments would increase government assistance to industries that are heavy users of electricity and also create safeguards for existing investment in the coal mining industry.
Junior Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the Liberals’ decision to support the bill was “a welcome development which is respected by the government.”
However, Wong told the Senate that even with one-fifth of electricity coming from renewable sources by 2020, the nation’s carbon gas emissions are projected to be 20 percent higher than 2000 levels.
“The only way we’re going to be able to turn around the growth in our carbon pollution ... is to put a firm legislated limit on the amount of carbon that we produce and make those who create the pollution pay for it,” Wong said.
RALLYING A DEFENSE: Former envoys wrote an op-ed piece defending Anna Lindstedt, who was removed for attempting to free Swedish book publisher Gui Minhai in China Sweden’s former ambassador to Beijing goes on trial in Stockholm on Friday for allegedly overstepping her mandate by trying to negotiate the release of a Chinese-Swedish dissident held in China. Anna Lindstedt is accused of brokering an unauthorized meeting during her time as ambassador to free publisher Gui Minhai (桂民海). Lindstedt — a veteran envoy who had previously represented Sweden in both Vietnam and Mexico, and acted as Sweden’s chief negotiator at the 2015 climate summit in Paris — has denied the charges. Gui, a Chinese-born Swedish citizen known for publishing gossipy titles about Chinese political leaders out of a Hong Kong book
‘SACRIFICED’: Hu Weifeng became the sixth doctor to die from COVID-19 at Wuhan Central Hospital, where calls to raise the alarm over the virus were suppressed The death of a Chinese doctor at Wuhan’s “whistle-blower hospital” has prompted a wave of anger at hospital authorities for not protecting front-line health workers in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. Hu Weifeng (胡衛鋒), 42, a urologist at Wuhan Central Hospital where the whistle-blower ophthalmologist Li Wenliang (李文亮) worked, died of the virus on Tuesday after a four-month battle. Hu is the sixth doctor from his hospital killed by the virus. Another doctor who spoke out, Ai Fen (艾芬), said that authorities told hospital staff not to wear protective gear so as not to cause panic and reprimanded her for “harming
‘LEAST WE CAN DO’: The gesture was made famous by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was protesting police brutality that targeted minorities They are images that surprised and moved Americans: police officers taking a knee alongside protesters in the most widespread civil unrest to rock the US in decades — and in doing so embracing an anti-racism gesture denounced by US President Donald Trump. As Trump pushes for a crackdown on often-violent protests over the death of George Floyd, police officers from New York to Los Angeles to Houston, Texas, are making gestures of solidarity with demonstrators incensed at the latest case of an unarmed black man dying while in police custody. “I took off the helmet and laid the batons down. Where do
From boiled catfish soup to spicy fried frog, an eight-year-old in pyjamas and a chef’s hat is delighting Myanmar with her culinary prowess in a nation still being told to stay at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moe Myint May Thu’s mother posted a video online at the end of April showing off her daughter’s skills as the youngster threw together some spicy fried prawns. With her wide, gap-toothed grin, the video has bounced across social media and brought stardom to the child along with an online moniker: “Little Chef.” She now sells dishes to order and is counting the dividends. “I just