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What needs to change to ensure a nature positive energy transition?

(Credit: Carlita Sari)

Did you know a Fossil Fuel Economy requires 535x more mining than a Clean Energy Economy? 

Firstly, we need to stop mining and burning coal – on every measure it is worse for the climate, nature, energy prices and human wellbeing.  

The easiest way to do this is to stop the plethora of government subsidies and exemptions to NSW's clean air and environmental protection laws coal plants and mines are granted in NSW. This would see most of the coal fired power plants and new mines simply stop.  

Secondly, we need to reform our planning and environmental protection laws to speed up the rollout of renewable energy and provide greater protections for nature across NSW.  

At a minimum this must include: 

  • An accelerated planning pathway for renewables projects  
  • Regular, public tracking of renewables projects to monitor progress against targets 
  • Guarantees that high value biodiversity areas are off limits to all forms of development, including renewable energy projects and infrastructure  
  • Consideration of the cumulative impact of projects on nature when undertaking and approving environmental assessment 
  • Fixing NSW's absurd Land Clearing laws, in particular the rules that allow for landholders to self-assess the ecological value of land they want to clear 
  • Fundamentally reforming the environmental offsetting system, in line with the Henry Review 
  • Setting and implementing targets and a roadmap to increase household renewable energy generation, storage, and electrification and efficiency consistent with the targets in the Net Zero Future Act.   

Finally, we need a NSW strategy for enhancing biodiversity with renewable energy infrastructure. That means requiring all renewable energy projects to have plans to restore nature, not simply avoid or mitigate environmental harms.      

We can have a clean energy future and protect our biodiversity – we just need to fix our broken planning system and environmental protection laws.  

The bushfires and floods gave us a taste of what is to come if we don’t take action to prevent climate change.   

It’s time for NSW to step up. 

Read next: What an energy transition that restores nature looks like