Climate and energy experts have demanded Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor release further modelling on the claim that his ‘technology investment roadmap’ will create 130,000 jobs by 2030.
On Tuesday, Taylor released the Technology Investment Roadmap, a decade-long plan which aims to reduce energy emissions and lower costs by backing five specific technologies: ‘clean’ hydrogen, energy storage, low carbon steel and aluminium, carbon capture, and soil carbon.
It means other technologies like electric vehicles, batteries, and wind and solar are lower down on the Morrison Government’s priority list.
“The Government’s plan has three key focuses – lower emissions, lower costs and more jobs,” Taylor said on Tuesday.
“Getting the technologies of the future right will support 130,000 jobs by 2030, and avoid in the order of 250 million tonnes of emissions in Australia by 2040.”
But the 41-page document does not outline where these jobs will come from or how they will be created, and industry experts have called the claim into question.
“There is no substance to Angus Taylor’s claim of 130,000 jobs by 2030 because there is no substance to the Roadmap,” Smart Energy Council of Australia chief executive John Grimes told Yahoo Finance.
“The document lacks specific policies, strategies or goals to reduce emissions and stimulate investment in low emission technologies.
“We know that fossil fuel projects do not create meaningful jobs beyond initial construction, but if Angus Taylor has analysis to show otherwise, he should release that analysis,” he added.
‘Where do they come from?’
Climate Council senior researcher Tim Baxter told Yahoo Finance that the roadmap contained “a lot of numbers”, but “no detail on where these numbers came from or how they were calculated”.
“Where the Government claims 250 million tonnes of greenhouse gas abatement per year, or 130,000 jobs, these are both far off in the never never and unsupported by any of the relevant detail. Those are big numbers. Where do they come from, and is that modelling going to be made publicly available?”
The Australia Institute’s climate and energy director, Richie Merzian, labelled Taylor’s claim of 130,000 new jobs as “outlandish” and criticised the plan for its lack of investment in renewable energy.
“Right now the only jobs this Roadmap has created is for the two gas executives appointed to the new Advisory Council. Without a renewable energy representative on the new Council, it’s a clear indication of where this Tech Roadmap will drive Australia, that’s backwards on emissions.”
Kellie Caught, the Australian Council of Social Services’ senior advisor on climate and energy, said investment in the “right technologies” could certainly stimulate the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Research from Ernst and Young and Beyond Zero Emissions has shown that renewable energy creates more jobs than investment in fossil fuels, she added.
“There are more economic, social and environmental benefits if the government prioritises development and deployment of technologies that will accelerate the shift to net zero emissions and support people in the transition,” Caught said.
‘Roadmap to nowhere’: Labor
Shadow energy minister Mark Butler slammed Taylor’s plan as a “roadmap to nowhere” and said Prime Minister Scott Morrison had not delivered a “genuine energy policy”.
“In the deepest recession in almost a century, this long series of announcements in energy won’t deliver a single new job in the timeframe Australia needs,” he said.
“No policy to help reduce power prices. No policy to give investors the confidence to build new generation and ensure reliable energy.
“Australian households and businesses will be left paying the price for his inaction.”
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the ABC that the $18 billion plan fell short of the national energy guarantee, the policy that lost Turnbull the nation’s top job.
“People are just punchdrunk with these random interventions from [the] government – it’s got to stop,” Turnbull said.
“We need a coherent energy and climate policy. We had that with the NEG, sadly that was blown up in 2018, but that is what we need to get back to and then, I promise you, the market will do its work, and we will have affordable, reliable and low emission energy.”
Business leaders feel Australia’s energy market is “uninvestable,” Turnbull added.
Requests for comment to the chief scientist Alan Finkel, who was involved in creating the roadmap, were redirected to Taylor’s office.
Yahoo Finance understands that the 130,000 figure is a conservative estimate by officials from Treasury and the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources based on jobs that are expected to be created in correlation to public and private investment.
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