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Accept the science and end the 'climate wars', NSW Libs tell Morrison

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NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin wants the Federal Government to end its “climate wars” and start reducing emissions, ahead of a meeting with his colleagues from across Australia.

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But Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio says the Morrison Government is “beyond hope” on the issue and that the NSW Liberal Government is calling them out too late.

In an opinion piece published in The Australian Financial Review, Harwin suggested the federal Liberal-National Coalition is out of touch on energy and climate policy.

“We recognise that climate change is a scientific fact,” Harwin wrote in the piece published today.

“It is the responsibility of all governments to address greenhouse gas emissions into the future.

“We need to end the ‘climate wars’ and put science, economics and engineering ahead of ideology.”

He will come face-to-face with federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor and his counterparts from most other states and territories at a Council of Australian Governments meeting today.

Taylor is hoping to secure agreement at the Adelaide gathering on a policy aimed at improving the reliability of the energy grid by encouraging investment in new generation.

“I look forward to working with my COAG energy council colleagues to bring power prices down while ensuring the reliability of the grid,” Taylor said.

But Harwin stressed that such energy policies should be matched with efforts to grapple with climate change.

“The NSW government has consistently made it clear that we believe that there should be an integration of climate and energy policy,” he said.

The Liberal-National NSW government announced a target in 2016 to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Harwin said he will push on Wednesday for the Energy Security Board to provide policy options to ministers to achieve that vision.

D’Ambrosio will not be at the meeting but says she expects the Federal Government will uphold its poor performance on the issue.

“We could possibly say they’re beyond hope. They have still no plan, still no policy, on energy and climate change,” she told reporters in Melbourne.

The discussion come after the Federal Government dumped its flagship energy policy – the National Energy Guarantee – in August.

It was aimed at dealing with energy prices, reliability and emissions, but conservatives in the Coalition took issue with its emissions targets, with their distaste contributing to Malcolm Turnbull’s downfall.

Harwin said the government may have abandoned the policy but it must still “confront the facts”.

“The market and industry is looking for certainty on emissions, and policy uncertainty will lead to higher wholesale prices and delayed investment decisions,” he said.

– AAP

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