The federal government has identified both the setting of emissions reduction targets and the implementation of a national emissions trading scheme by 2010 as key components of its climate change policy response.
The federal government has simultaneously announced the implementation of a renewable energy target (RET) with an expected starting date in mid-2009, a review in 2015 and phasing out between 2020 and 2030.
The key challenge in considering the RET policy is whether it will ensure Australia can achieve its emissions reduction in the most cost-effective way.
While the RET may stimulate the development of renewable energy sources, it remains unclear whether this will be done in the most economically efficient manner and whether it will bias the options for renewable energy expansion in a narrow manner.
The implementation of the Australian emissions trading scheme should be the primary vehicle to achieve emissions reduction.
Issues related to the proposed RET include:
• Trade-exposed, emissions-intensive industries
• Duration and phase out