In late May, Minister Frydenberg introduced laws to make the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s $10 billion available to so-called 'clean coal' investments.
The CEFC is Australia’s green investment bank. It was created to help grow Australia’s renewable energy sector and speed up our transition away from fossil fuels. The CEFC has $10 billion in taxpayer funds to invest in renewable energy development. Currently, the rules means it can’t invest in unproven coal emissions reduction technology, like carbon capture and storage.
Under Tony Abbott, the Liberal government tried to dismantle the CEFC not once, but twice. Both times they failed.
Now, under Turnbull and Frydenberg, the government is trying to undermine Australia’s renewable energy industry by changing the CEFC’s rules of investment.
For one thing, there's no such thing as 'clean coal'. That term is a lovely bit of spin designed to lull us regular Australian taxpayers into a false sense of energy security, "Oh, this coal - no, don't worry about that. It's the clean stuff." No thanks, Mr Frydenberg. We're not falling for it.
What we do know, is that renewable energy is booming. Economies around the world are rapidly transitioning their energy production from fossil fuels to renewables. Even in the US, with President Trump attempting to renege on the Paris agreement, the state governments and industry are stepping up in a big way. "This clean energy thing - it's happening. Whether you're on board or not," they're saying.
But siphoning money into fossil fuels from the very agency set up to help transition away from fossil fuels... that's a step too far. Australia risks falling even further behind if more taxpayer funds are used to support the failing fossil fuel industry.
So last month we organised a petition. A simple note to let Minister Frydenberg know that allowing our green bank to subsidise harmful coal is like investing money from a cancer research fund into tobacco filters.
The petition did better than we could have hoped.
We collected 2,200 signatures in just a few days.
And yesterday, with the help of one of our awesome members, Kai Brach, we delivered those signatures to Minister Frydenberg's office.
Yep, that's a 1.8 metre scroll - with six columns of names.
You can see the full petition - all 1.8 metres of it - here.
Pretty neat, huh?
Thanks to everyone who made their voice heard. We'll keep you posted on what Mr Frydenberg decides to do about it.