Labor backs dirty coal

Protecting electricity generators from the costs of emissions trading would cripple Australia’s efforts to control global warming, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

Commenting on a story on page 5 of today’s Sydney Morning Herald, Dr Kaye said: "The Iemma government is calling in favours in Canberra to kneecap the national emissions trading scheme in order to prop up its privatisation of the electricity industry.

"Treasurer Costa, a self-admitted climate sceptic, has joined with the generator lobby to pressure the Rudd government into issuing free emissions permits to the large generators.

"The threat of a properly functioning trading scheme is driving away potential investors in the generators, pushing down the sale price and making the sell-off look even more silly.

"In NSW the electricity industry emits more than 58 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, accounting for 37% of the state greenhouse gas emissions.

"Issuing free permits to power stations would not only be a multi-billion dollar a year gift to the owners but it would make a mockery of the trading scheme.

"There would be no incentives to reduce emissions. The renewable energy industry would be stranded in unfair competition with the coal-burning giants.

"Treasurer Costa and his allies in the electricity lobby are playing for high stakes.

"If the carbon price rises to $65 a tonne as estimated by the European Union, the annual value of emissions permits for NSW generators could be $3.4 billion.

"The Iemma government is arguing for a massive subsidy to the coal-fired power station to prop up their faltering sell-off scheme.

"Treasurer Costa is attempting to disguise the dangers of handing over 37% of the state’s emissions to the private sector.

"Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong should ignore their self-serving Labor colleagues in NSW and create a consistent and rigorous trading scheme," Dr Kaye said.

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