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Renewable energy policy development in Australia as a response to climatic change

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Howman, Alison (2004) Renewable energy policy development in Australia as a response to climatic change. Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the development of renewable energy policy in Australia as a
response to climate change. Premised on the fact that climate change is a manifestation
of humanity currently not living within sustainable limits, and that climate change is a
global issue requiring a global response, the development of renewable energy
alternatives to electricity supply is envisaged to play an increasing role in a carbon
constrained world.
In response to international efforts supporting the United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change, and to address notoriety gained from being one the highest
greenhouse gas emitters in the world, the Commonwealth of Australia, initiated measures
to facilitate greenhouse gas abatement. Australia set global precedents by taking the lead
through the establishment of the Australian Greenhouse Office and the implementation of
the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000. The Act effectively launched an era of
renewable energy activity in Australia associated with wind, solar, biomass, geothermal
and hydro power developments.
While ostensibly Australia's political climate should have provided extremely favourable
conditions for the development of renewable energy solutions this has not proved to be
the case. To find out what has positively influenced, or oppositely constrained,
developments in Australia this study set out to address two main aims. First, to
determine international and Commonwealth of Australia factors influencing renewable
energy policy developments in Australia. Second, to assess whether or not the
Commonwealth is serious about developing renewable energy resources in Australia.
International and Commonwealth processes that have influenced renewable energy policy
developments were investigated through a search and review of available literature and
reports. The advancement of climate change policies and associated growth of renewable
energy developments were traced from the 1970s until 2003. Key issues and debates in
Australia were identified through reports and a detailed examination and assessment of
the Commonwealth Government's Parliamentary Debates from February 1997 until December 2003. Information drawn from 948 Hansards was gathered and thematically
analysed to identify the main facets of political discussion.
A number of issues were identified as effecting Australia's renewable energy
developments. Australia's position as the world's largest per capita greenhouse gas
emitter and the Commonwealth Government's refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol are
factors of international imp01iance. So too is the alliance between Australia and the
United States of America regarding climate change related initiatives. Insecurity
sunounding the nature and longevity of the sole mandatory response to global climate
change, in the form of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 and its Mandatory
Renewable Energy Target, can be considered to be the most influential factor impacting
on renewable energy developments in Australia. The Commonwealth Government's
focus on cleaner coal technology and geosequestration at the expense of renewable
energy research and development also has significant short and long term implications.
Ineffective allocation of budgets, the existence of a strong fossil fuel lobby and the
absence of a national energy policy all contribute to a milieu not conducive to successful
development and implementation of renewable energy initiatives.
Based on a review of these key issues the study concludes that, despite the imminence of
climate change and the knowledge that deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions of up to
5 0-60 per cent this century are envisaged, the development of renewable energy
alternatives to fossil fuel derived electricity sources has been restricted by the Australian
Commonwealth Government. The conclusion is, Australia has not implemented the
policies and practices that are required to encourage increased investment and provide the
opportunity for renewable energy industries to grow. Australia does not have a
renewable energy policy and is not serious about developing its renewable energy
resources.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Keywords: Power resources, Renewable energy sources, Sustainable development, Renewable energy sources, Climatic changes
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2004 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Env.Mgt.)--University of Tasmania, 2004. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2014 02:46
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:54
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