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An Emissions Veto

October 28, 2010

In the absence of an emissions trading scheme all emissions-intensive projects should be subject to the possibility of rejection based on the contribution they will make to carbon pollution.

This is a recommendation of former senior public servant Allan Hawke to the federal government.

Dr. Hawke’s review recommended that projects with emissions of more than 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year should require ministerial approval under the Environment Protection Act. In other words, there should be a specific greenhouse consideration.

The Federal government had said this won’t be necessary if we got an ETS. But we haven’t.

Let me add a precedent to support the Hawke proposal. In October 2003 the State government rejected a bid for a new power station at Redbank in the Hunter Valley. The power station, proposed by NP Power 2 would have converted the waste of coal mines – coal tailings – into energy. But it would have been colossally emissions-intensive.

We rejected it on those grounds. Our decision became the first in the world that ruled out a development solely because of its contribution to greenhouse.

As I said, a precedent that supports the Dr. Hawke proposal.

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