Australia’s opposition is concerned the Labor government did not sign up to an international pledge calling for the tripling of nuclear energy.
However, Australia has committed at COP28 to triple renewable energy around the world by the year 2030.
Shadow Climate Change and Energy Minister Ted O'Brien said Australia has “foolishly isolated itself” from AUKUS allies and 20 other countries by refusing to back the nuclear call.
The Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy was signed by 22 countries, including the United States and United Kingdom, at the COP28 United Nations climate change conference in Dubai.
Mr. O'Brien said getting to net zero requires “all technology to be on the table” and that includes zero-emissions nuclear energy.
The nations to sign the pledge were the U.S., UK, France, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Bulgaria, Ghana, Hungary, Japan, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and the Republic of Korea.
‘Radical Experiment’: O'BrienMr. O'Brien said the government is “attempting a radical experiment” by embarking on a pathway to net zero which will “make our nation poorer, weaker, and more dependent on foreign powers.”
“They should instead learn from other nations which are being far more pragmatic as they base their policies on engineering and economics,” he said.
“Prime Minister [Anthony] Albanese and Minister [Chris] Bowen claim to know more about zero-emissions nuclear energy than the 32 countries which currently use the technology and 50 others which are looking at introducing nuclear for the first time.”
In parliament, Mr. Bowen, the climate change and energy minister, cited a report showing nuclear energy is the most expensive form of energy in Australia.
Australia Joins Renewable PledgeMeanwhile, Australia has joined an international pledge involving more than 100 countries around the world to triple renewable energy capacity and double global annual energy efficiency by 2030.
The world leaders signed the Global Renewable Pledge and Energy Efficiency Pledge on the third day of COP28.
“We know that renewables are the cleanest and cheapest form of energy—and that energy efficiency can also help drive down bills and emissions,” Mr. Bowen said.
“That’s why the Albanese Government is supporting the UAE’s signature initiative to triple global renewable energy generation capacity and double global average annual energy efficiency improvements by 2030.
“Australia has the highest penetration of rooftop solar in the world and has a plan to get to 82 percent renewables by 2030 to deliver cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable energy, for emissions to go down around the world, we need a big international push,” he said.
“Australia has the resources and the smarts to help supply the world with clean energy technologies to drive down those emissions while spurring new Australian industry.”