Finkel Energy Report – Behind the News

Finkel Energy Report – Behind the News


AMELIA: Can you imagine a world
without electricity? I think it would kind of turn into
a post-apocalyptic type of world where people are fighting
over batteries. I would have a plan. Like, I’d try to get all the world’s
guinea pigs and hamsters and have them running
on their little wheels, ’cause I think
that would probably work and sort of just generate power. Eventually,
everyone’s iPads and computers will eventually run out of power, and you’ll just have millions
of children sitting there at home just leaning on the couch going,
“Ohhh!” It would be kind of good because
then I’d get to do homework, and it would be bad because
I don’t get to watch YouTube. So, it’s clearly
a super important thing to have, but it’s the way we go
about making that electricity that’s causing debate. About 80% of Australia’s
energy comes from coal. It’s mined all around Australia
and we even sell some overseas. But burning fossil fuels like coal releases gases like
carbon dioxide into the air, and scientists say that’s
contributing to climate change. There will be no carbon tax. The Senate… But for a long time, Australia’s leaders
have been debating the best way to reduce those emissions, but unfortunately it isn’t as easy
as flicking a switch. There are lots of factors
to consider, like the cost of changing over
to different energy sources, the effects on big industry
and lots of people’s jobs, how it might affect the cost
of electricity for families, and, of course,
the main aim of generating power, making sure the lights stay on. Back in 2001,
the government decided to aim to make 20% of our power
come from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2020,
but 2020 isn’t so far away now, and we’re still about 7% short
of that goal. So, the government asked this guy,
Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, to suggest a plan to get us there. He looked into it
and released a big government report called the Finkel Review. It suggests a few different options, but the one that has
most people talking is a clean energy target. A clean energy target
would basically be a rule that would force the companies
that sell electricity to make sure a set amount of it comes from low-polluting
or totally clean power sources. It’s hoped that would
encourage businesses to invest in more of those
power sources around Australia, and would probably reduce the amount
of coal power in the future by quite a lot. Not everyone’s a fan
of the clean energy targets. The mining industry isn’t happy
because it would be a big hit to the coal industry
which provides a lot of jobs and makes Australia a lot of money. Some government MPs agree. Some have also argued
that under the plan, Australia’s power supply
might not be as reliable and that creating more green energy could end up pushing up
electricity prices. But others say the target
would actually make power cheaper and be a step forward
in the fight against climate change. The government
still hasn’t made a decision about whether it will bring in
the new energy target, and the PM said
it will take some time to work out the best policy, so, for know,
we’ll have to wait and see what Australia’s energy future
will look like.

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