Today the ALP today announced that they intend to phase out the installation of electric hot water systems over the next 5 years.

Greenpeace welcomed the announcement as a positive and simple measure which will make a significant impact on household greenhouse pollution. (Some of the coverage can be seen in the SMH and the West Australian). Now both Labor and the Coalition are offering $1000 solar water heating rebates, but importantly Labor is going further and banning inefficient water heaters.

Using electricity to heat water is like using a chainsaw to cut butter- its completely over the top and excessive. However only about 5% of Australian households use solar water heating. If implemented this policy will provide a strong boost to Australia’s solar water heating industry.

We are beginning to see some solid policies from both Labor and the Coalition aimed at reducing household emissions. What we need from both parties now though is the big picture on how they intend to reduce emissions across the whole economy, not just the household sector which makes up just 20% of national emissions.

Australia needs to reduce its greenhouse pollution by 30% by 2020 if we are to do our bit towards tackling climate change. Measures like phasing out electric hot water will make a contribution, but we also need legislated targets for reducing emissions, increasing the share of renewable energy, and a clear pathway to reduce our use of coal-fired power. So far, we’re still waiting for the big ticket items that will realy determine Australia whether greenhouse pollution stabilises and then starts falling.