Greg Hunt rearranges climate change bodies at Environment Dept

By David Donaldson

September 28, 2015

Environment Minister Greg Hunt (pictured) is overhauling the Commonwealth’s climate change institutions, The Australian newspaper has reported.

An Office of Climate Change and Renewables Innovation has been established within the Department of the Environment to centralise the government’s climate change and renewable energy programs in one place.

This new authority will include the Clean Energy Regulator, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Climate Change Authority.

“Technology will underpin the reductions in global emissions required over coming decades to mitigate climate change,” The Australian reported Hunt as saying. He also stated there were no changes to existing policies.

The change builds on the government’s three core responses of the emissions reduction fund, the renewable energy target and emissions reduction targets of 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030, he said. The new structure would assist in delivering this target, which will be taken to the Paris conference, and the RET.

The government is expected to announce appointees to the five vacant Climate Change Authority board seats — most of which have been empty for some time. The Environment Minister has had meetings with the chairman of ARENA Greg Bourne, CEFC chair Jillian Broadbent and board member Martijn Wilder recently.

The government is touting the machinery of government shuffle as part of as attempt to differentiate itself from Labor, which is planning to take a proposal for an emissions trading scheme to the election that Hunt calls a “tax on electricity”. It seems the move is designed to give the government’s climate change rhetoric a more technology-friendly tinge.

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