Finkel Reaction: Turnbull happy, Greens and NGOs appalled

Finkel Reaction: Turnbull happy, Greens and NGOs appalled

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Landmark report… or ‘political agreement to let the planet burn’? A collection of the comments on, and reactions to the Finkel review.

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Politicians, market observers, green groups and industry stakeholders respond to the tabling of the Finkel energy market review

Australian PM, Malcolm Turnbull: I’ll say this about the CET mechanism, it has a number of very strong virtues. One is that it is technology agnostic, so it provides incentives for lower emissions technologies, not just for renewables… So that’s a great strength.

“There is no … barrier to building a coal-fired power station. There is a benchmark that will be set, an emissions level and new generation which comes under that would receive a portion of a certificate. It’s proportionate. That’s an incentive. Doesn’t prevent someone from building a new coal-fired power station.

“The point is, there is nothing in the CET that would prevent a new coal-fired power station to be built, it would provide an incentive for lower emissions technologies, however.”

SA Premier Jay Weatherill: The challenges of the national retail market are well documented… It’s all about lack of a market mechanism to effectively integrate climate policy and energy policy. And that’s at the heart of Finkel’s recommendations. We strongly support the report. There’s an enormous amount of work to be done. It’s urgent work. And we’re very much looking forward to this work.

ACT chief minister Andrew Barr: Canberra’s electricity consumers are about to experience a 19 per cent increase in retail prices. This is urgent (reform). We must resolve this issue to provide investment certainty. …We have hedged against this significant (power) price rise, but it remains a significant concern.”

Greens climate and energy spokesperson Adam Bandt MP: Right now, big coal and gas are licking their lips. The Finkel Report is full of good ideas, but the key proposal of a Clean Energy Target is far worse than the version John Howard announced in 2007 and will see consumers subsidise gas and let coal keep polluting. Bill Shorten and Labor cannot end the ‘climate wars’ by running up the white flag and blindly signing up to a deal with the Liberals.

Australia Chief Scientist Alan Finkel: I don’t understand why people are asking that question. Why do they care what the underlying generation mix is? If it’s meeting our objectives of security, reliability and lowering emissions, what more would you want to ask?

The Australian Solar Council and Energy Storage Council: (We) welcome this landmark, independent report. We are concerned the report recommends constraints on new renewable energy generation, without focusing enough on existing generation and networks. We will review the report in detail and work with Governments to ensure that together we can build a stronger solar and storage industry.

Friends of the Earth climate change spokesperson Leigh Ewbank: “It’s puzzling that Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s chief scientist and founder of Cosmos magazine, has failed to account for the latest science on climate change and health impacts from coal.

“Alarming melting of the polar icecaps and extensive bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef shows we need a rapid rollout of solar and wind, not incentives for new coal or gas. Renewable energy is the cost effective solution for the modern economy. Community health should be put before the wishes of a fossil fuel lobbyists and a government ideologically wedded to coal and gas.”

AGL Energy: “We note that the Finkel review has found the resource costs of a CET are relatively similar to both business-as-usual and an EIS. As the operator of the most efficient and lowest emissions coal-fired generators in Victoria and NSW, coupled with our extensive renewables and gas generations assets, AGL is well placed to continue to supply our customers while investing in new lower-emissions generation infrastructure.

“We support the recommendations for advanced notice of closure of thermal plant and a ‘dispatchability’ requirement for new renewables when AEMO deems it to be necessary. These mechanisms should provide greater system security and reliability, as well as a more orderly transition to a decarbonised energy system.”

Australian Conservation Foundation: Chief Scientist Alan Finkel was given an impossible task: design an energy system that would tackle global warming but still keep Tony Abbott and the climate deniers happy. The result of Finkel’s mission impossible is a clean energy target that is actually very, very dirty.

The most critical question is: will this blueprint actually reduce pollution in line with what’s required to halt dangerous global warming. The answer is no it won’t. …The science is clear – we need a zero-pollution power sector, as soon as possible. This report puts off the decision on how to do this for another three years. Climate science tells us there is no room for new coal and gas, and our Chief Scientist missed an opportunity to make that clear to the Turnbull government.



GE said Australia has the potential to become a world leader in hybrid renewable and battery technology, and the integration of renewable energy into traditional grid systems.

“The technologies necessary to implement the Finkel blueprint already exist. All we need is stable policy and companies like GE will invest to secure Australia’s energy future.

“We urge Australia’s political leaders to adopt the proposals and stick with them for the long term, because if they do, industry will meet the challenge.”

This article will be updated as more reactions and comments are published…

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  1. Radbug 3 years ago

    Finkel’s advice for the consumer: go the full monty: solar HW, 12 PV panels, flow battery storage, plus an EV and go off-grid.

    • Alastair Leith 3 years ago


    • John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

      I began that process in 2008, with the PV panels and the solar HW, sponsored by generous state and federal subsidies. But I will continue to follow the cost effective curve, investing my FIT savings in LED lights, insulation and other energy efficiencies, then, as the cost curve becomes favourable, proceed to more panels, storage, and an EV (with further storage built in).
      Boring, rational and liable to produce a timely reduction in my emissions without disturbing my bank manager.
      Who knew it could be so simple?

      • Shane White 3 years ago

        While the seas rise and the land burns…

        • John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

          The seas are rising and the land is burning, that is true, but soulful soliloquies won’t change that trajectory. Action will, but not just my action, any more than yours. What must happen is that whole nations must transition their economies to ecological and ethical sustainability.

          Sometimes, when you read Trump’s or Turnbull’s latest outrage to common sense, you shake your fist and shout dark threats that would seem more at home coming from the lips or a mad jihadi – I know, I’ve done it so many times my teeth are beginning to wear out. But even if you carried out your worst threat, what would it change, really?

          So when I feel like that, I knuckle down and get on with the simple, pleasant, positive things that I can do, now, like planting vegies and divesting from plastic bags, and present them to others in a way that just might become infectious. From little things big things grow.

          • Shane White 3 years ago

            I drive less than 500km/yr and usually cycle, run and walk. I grow all my own food except mushrooms, pasta and rice. And you know what John? Nobody I know gives a sh1t . They’ve all got their 4wds, and enjoy their perpetual OS holidays.
            So on with more thought and soulful soliloquies.

          • John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

            Whatever floats your boat. I’m not silent about what I do. I get out and tell people about it. Sure, some people don’t get it, but I’d rather die trying than look back and wonder if I’d done everything I could.

          • Ryan Law 3 years ago

            what would it change if i got lists off all the elite and their family’s and organised people people to decapitate the elite on blocks?
            what did the french revolution change?
            my darkest threats would bring humanity its greatest Renascence 😉
            they are also just a mater of time, if not me someone else will save humanity from the sociopaths it has allowed to lead it to the brink of extinction

    • Shane White 3 years ago

      Yes buy. Buy more. Buy now. Be Happy. We’ll consume our way to a safe climate.

      Buy a NEW CAR!!!!! Oooooh it’s so shiny. Drive!!!!! Buy more cars for a safe climate! The future is so bright! Who’d have thought roads and traffic were a significant part of our answers?

      Capitalism and consumption will save us all! We must maintain our high carbon lifestyles at all costs. We need a Lifestyle Security Target NOW!

  2. Shane White 3 years ago

    Australia’s INDC is a joke. All energy and emission reduction policies are derived from this. Until our INDC is made adequate then everything that follows will be inadequate.

    It puzzles me that people expected Finkel’s report to (ultimately) counter the INDC.

    • coreidae 3 years ago

      Can you explain a bit more about this? I know what INDC is but I wonder why you think they’re a joke. Thanks.

      • Shane White 3 years ago

        Two reasons Coreidae:
        1. Collectively INDCs, if ever legislated or enacted, will cause the planet to 3C+. See image below and WRI at

        2. As a rich developed country, we’ve consumed far more than our fair share of the carbon pie. Kevin Anderson explained it well below –

        Hope that helps – haven’t watched that video for a while but will do again now I think.

        • Ryan Law 3 years ago

          we dont need 0 emmissions its too late for that.
          we need negative emissions.
          the permafrost is melting and it has 1700ppm worth of CO2 and CH4 in it.
          every year now a few %globaly is melting, releasing a corresponding amount of CO2 and CH4

          • Shane White 3 years ago

            Yep –

            Using Hansen’s numbers from, if we reduce emissions at -3%/yr (exponential I think) then we need to sequester 237 PgC (or GtC) and -6%/yr 153 PgC. Respectively that’s about what our global oceans or land sequesters over 80 years and 50 years. And we need to this annually, hoping the WAIS won’t collapse in a runaway manner, and that we don’t trigger any other tipping points, or haven’t already.

            This is now so far beyond installing some solar panels, and is our fault for leaving action so late. Not that we’ve begun… in fact are heading in the wrong direction faster than every before with atmospheric CO2 increasing last year and the year before at record rates.

            The situation is absurd.

  3. Robert Comerford 3 years ago

    And yet will Turnbull be able to get even this weak-need response through?. The climate science deniers in the COALition are howling at the moon already.
    I do believe he tried to come up with a plan that Malcolm could get through his party but I think nothing less than fossil fuels forever would satisfy them.
    Like the US at the moment we are left with states to act when the federal government is missing action.

  4. Ryan Law 3 years ago

    this is just a smoke screen to make renewables 3 times more expensive and force states with moratoriums on fracking to frack.
    theirs so much wrong the parts of this report and pretty much nothing right, we have to b 0 emissions by 2040 to avoid extinction.
    if we expect countrys like india to get their by 2050 we have to set a example (since we have 10x the resources per capita to do it with). we need energy production to be 0 emissions by 2030 to get there and even then we’ll be scraping the rim of extinction for generations.
    we need to be extracting more CO2 and CH4 from atmosphere over the next 40 years as we have emitted over the last 200 if we are to stop it all melting

    • Joe 3 years ago

      With all those CCS plants up and running around the world the CO2 can be sucked out of the atmosphere and voila…we did it !

      • Ryan Law 3 years ago

        lol and thats the maths that got us here, lets sequester 20% of our emissions and keep them at same rate and wonder why co’2 is going yup every year.
        theirs no way to sequester all our O2 emissions without filling all our aquifers with CO2 rather then water and if we do that then what are we going to drink and grow food with?
        carbon sequestration is expensive dangerous and only applicable as a hobby industry.
        we produce far to much carbon to try and keep it in rubbish dumps we need To USE it for something useful if we are going to devote the majority of the races production to carbon capture and recycling, (which we need to do to avoid extinction) we could at least produce something other then rubbish dumps with all that effort

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