At Parliament House this morning Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne stood with students studying for clean energy jobs, urging the other parties not to help Tony Abbott degrade the Renewable Energy Target.
"The Renewable Energy Target must not be tampered with. The only compromise should be getting the Abbott government to move with the times and start shutting down fossil fuels," said Senator Milne.
"The UN Climate Summit identified coal as the obstacle; not just to a clean energy future, but to future economic success in countries like Australia. Tony Abbott should take note.
"The Abbott government's own Industry Minister confirmed there is massive over-supply in the energy system, which makes this is the best opportunity we have to shut down coal while maintaining energy security.
"I implore Labor and the Palmer party not to cave in to any compromises that would undermine the RET and send clean energy jobs offshore.
"Around the world, people are jealous that Australia has space, magnificent solar resources and great universities producing some of the best human capital the planet has to offer. But what we're seeing now is young people
preparing to leave the country.
"They went into solar engineering and other renewable energy careers thinking they'd make a contribution to reducing emissions, generating jobs and investment, and a prosperous Australia after the mining boom. Now they're despairing.
"No compromise on the target of 41,000 gigawatt hours by 2020 should be considered.
"The aluminium industry already enjoys a 90 per cent exemption from the Renewable Energy Target. A complete exemption would lower the current RET by five per cent, and increase power bills for everyone else.
"If this is Clive Palmer's idea of protecting the Renewable Energy Target, he's wrong," said Senator Milne.
"There is only one compromise on surplus energy and that is: keep the Renewable Energy Target and find the political will to start shutting down coal-fired power stations.
"The representatives at the UN summit agreed to increase the use of renewables but, once again, Tony Abbott is out of step. He's trying to destroy Australia's renewables industry and he's trying to get Labor and the Palmer party to help."