Updated

A man has blocked a car driven by Australian Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg in Port Kembla, in Sydney’s south, in a protest against climate change, the government and the move to regulate carbon emissions.

Key points: The man was protesting on behalf of the World Rivers Day, a critical day for waterways

Activists want the Government to take action against climate change without attacking scientific evidence

Mr Frydenberg tweeted his appreciation, calling the protester a “frank and honest man”

The protest took place at the Port Kembla Reservoir on Sunday morning, and was organised by the World Rivers Day group.

Mr Frydenberg said the man had just come from St George Hospital, and said the decision to block the entrance was not politically motivated.

“At the end of the day, what the person is protesting about is, according to him, the debate surrounding regulating carbon emissions,” he said.

He said he was personally in favour of the Government moving away from strict carbon emissions regulations, and to include coal in its plan to fully phase out fossil fuels from the power market in 2024.

“We want to go down that path, but we’ll be absolutely clear that if it requires a disruption or worse, we will be back there doing our job,” he said.

Mr Frydenberg has previously defended his leadership during the carbon emissions debate, saying he would not concede that the Government had less research on carbon emissions than the Greens.

On Twitter, he thanked the protesters, and wrote: “Quite simply, it’s not something I often agree with but I’ve got to tell you, guys, it’s a frank and honest man.”

The protest comes amid the argument between the Government and the Greens over its plans to further regulate emissions.

The Government wants to implement stricter mandatory emissions standards, but the Greens argue it will drive up energy prices and will need to be changed to secure support from other members of the crossbench.

Key details in the Government’s trial regulation

Maximum 2030s – 138 times lower in 2030s than in 2010

– 138 times lower in 2030s than in 2010 and lower than anywhere else in the OECD

– 130 to 130 per cent lower in 2030s than in 2008

– 120 to 120 per cent lower in 2030s than in 2008

– 100 per cent of the province’s power market to be regulated

Background

This week the Government announced it would introduce a trial regulation scheme by 2030. The scheme, which is based on renewable energy certificates, would mean power companies were required to hand over up to 10 per cent of their power output to electric generators and other energy companies in Australia for renewable energy purposes by 2030.

Under the plan, released by the Government, water would be the first aspect of the scheme, with producers required to hand over 10 per cent of their power output. This would apply to a total of 1.2 billion tonnes of excess wind power generated on a pre-determined basis to power the system, with a lag time of 5 years.

Both the government and Green MPs argued the scheme would not affect climate change, and argue that any changes to the regulation would be introduced from 2017 onwards, which is the timeframe set out in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recommendations.

Labor also opposed the trial regulation scheme, and asked the Government to reveal how much power company and other investors would be liable for compliance.

But senior Government figures dismissed Labor’s claims that the measure would drive up power prices, saying electricity prices already have risen significantly in recent years and had risen due to competition.

Former New South Wales energy minister Paul Lynch said the scheme would cost the Government 10 per cent of its funding, but still cause substantial social costs, but would not impact climate change because there would not be any reduction in carbon emissions.

Topics: climate-change, federal-government, activism-and-lobbying, social-policy, law-crime-and-justice, federal-government, defence-and-national-security, nsw, australia

First posted