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Unannounced Federal bill on CO2 register undercuts State registries, set lower standards

Posted by gmarkets on 15 September, 2007

The Commonwealth was put on notice to manage greenhouse emissions, and responded with a bill totally misaligned with what the states had done so far, said Mr Gavin Jennings, Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change, in the Victorian Legislative Council on 22 August 2007.

States and territories decided to establish benchmark: “A quite extraordinary proposition was put up after the Council for the Australian Federation got together earlier this year,” said Jennings. “The states and territories met and determined that if the commonwealth would not step into this space to regulate, they would do it themselves to make sure they knew what the greenhouse gas emissions system was throughout Australia. The states and territories determined that they would create the benchmark and the capacity to know where we as a nation are travelling with greenhouse generation and be able to drive important reforms, such as emissions trading. We put the commonwealth on notice to come up with a scheme to implement it.”

1400 industries measured in Victoria: “Out of the blue a bill arrived in the federal Parliament last week totally unannounced — and it is totally out of kilter with the current regulatory regime and out of kilter with the way the states and territories have planned to be able to measure reporting mechanisms now and into the future. … In relation to this initiative, the regime that we currently have in place in Victoria under the national pollutant inventory provides for 1400 energy-intensive industries to be measured through that regulatory impact including the state of Victoria.”

Commonwealth proposes monitoring fewer industries: “What has the commonwealth regime introduced? The bill that is before the commonwealth Parliament at the moment not only says, ‘Away with the inventory in Victoria, away with the 1400 companies that are currently being measured across Australia and let’s replace them with 700 companies which fall within the scope of the commonwealth regulation’,” said Jennings. “Not only that but it is particularly unclear in relation to the mechanisms that measure gas and electricity generation through the National Electricity Market Management Company (NEMMCO). Is it covered by the bill? The answer is a deafening silence from the commonwealth. We do not know whether it will measure these into the future.”

Reference: Gavin Jennings, Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Parliament of Victoria – Legislative Council Daily Hansard, Victoria, 22 August 2007.

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Posted in Australia, Emissions Trading, Hansard, Law, Policy, Registry, Victoria | Leave a Comment »

Victorian renewable energy target (VRET) triggers wind, hydro and solar energy projects throughout state

Posted by gmarkets on 15 September, 2007

In spite of political opposition, the Victorian renewable energy target (VRET) legislation had resulted in a significant increase in renewable energy in the state, Victorian Minister for Industry and Trade, T C Theophanous, said in the Victorian Legislative Council on 23 August 2007.

$400 million wind farm investment: According to Theophanous the Opposition had “…voted against the Victorian renewable energy target (VRET) legislation. They have done everything they possibly could to make sure that there was no renewable energy industry. Notwithstanding that, the renewable energy industry is an important industry, and it has resulted in a significant increase in renewable energy in this state. Let me give the house some examples. We already have a number of wind farms operating: the Challicum Hills, Codrington, Portland, Toora and Wonthaggi wind farms. On top of that, under construction is the massive 192-megawatt Waubra wind farm near Ballarat, with an investment of somewhere around $400 million. There are a number of big wind farm projects, but that is not all the renewable energy industry driven by the Victorian renewable energy scheme has been able to facilitate.”

VRET encourages further $630 million investment: “The new Bogong hydro scheme was only possible because of the VRET scheme,” Theophanous said. “It is a $230 million investment; so there is new hydro power as well. The proposed solar power facility in Mildura, which is an investment of in excess of $400 million, can only work with the assistance of the Victorian renewable energy scheme. There are many other wind farms which are in the planning stages or have received planning approval, including the Macarthur wind farm, the Gellibrand wind farm, the Mount Mercer wind farm, the Yaloak wind farm and various others. The Macarthur wind farm is an AGL wind farm. A lot was said about the Dollar wind farm, and it is not going ahead. But AGL is going ahead with the Macarthur wind farm, which is a 300-megawatt wind farm investment in this state.”

Reference: T. C. Theophanous, Minister for Industry and Trade, Parliament of Victoria – Legislative Council Daily Hansard, Victoria, 23 August 2007.

Posted in Australia, Energy, Hansard, Policy, Victoria | Leave a Comment »

Victoria Seed Bank project an “insurance policy” against Australian plant extinctions

Posted by gmarkets on 15 September, 2007

The Victorian seed bank project is run by the botanic gardens, with help from the Department of Sustainability and Environment.” It was the world’s “insurance policy” against plant extinctions – green thumbs from across the globe banking tens of thousands of seeds for the future, reported The Age (7/9/2007, p. 4).

280 species so far: Called the Millenium Seed Bank, the project was started by Britain’s Royal Botanic Garden in Kew, and 18,000 plant species had already been catalogued and stored, The Age reported. The Victorian arm of the international effort – the Victorian Conservation Seedbank – started two years ago, and scientists had so far collected 4.5 million seeds for the cause, representing 280 species. After the seeds were dried and cleaned, they were stored in freezers set at minus 20 degrees. The idea was that if a plant died out, the banked specimens could be used to reintroduce it to the wild. Half of the collected samples would be deposited with the UK bank, with the rest to be stored at Victoria’s National Herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Melbourne.

“Extinct” plant found: The Age reported: “More than 3000 native species of plants can be found in Victoria, but about 700 are considered to be under threat of extinction. Collection of Victorian seeds started in October 2005. Items banked so far include seeds from a daisy bush that grows on a single limestone marble outcrop in East Gippsland, and seeds from a eucalypt known from just one plant in the Wimmera. The collection work has also led to the rediscovery of Pimelea spinescens, a plant thought to be extinct since 1901.

The Age, 7/9/2007, p. 4

Posted in Australia, Forest, Policy, Species, Victoria | Leave a Comment »