The push for Australia to legislate a net zero emissions target has spurred discord from some government officials who firmly believe the climate policy could harm Australia’s energy security and industry amid the UK’s own unravelling energy crisis.

Australia has faced criticism for not setting a 2050 net zero target—a goal already undertaken by many of the world’s developed countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.But Nationals Senator Matt Canavan suggested that the UK’s unfolding energy crisis is a direct consequence of its “net zero” emissions plans via a shift to so-called renewables and banning coal power.

The UK has been trying to reach net zero. They’ve passed legislation to do that,” Canavan told 2GB radio.“They’re not there yet, but they’re on the path. And already down that path, they are seeing a situation where industry is being asked to shut down just to keep the lights on.”

Over the last 50 years, the UK has weaned itself of coal generation and become more dependent on gas as its primary source of electricity generation – much of which is imported from Europe.Further, heavy investment into renewables over the last decade has also boosted wind output, contributing to 24 percent of total generation in 2020.The United Kingdom’s coal, gas, nuclear and renewable energy consumption from 1965 to 2019. Source: Our World in Data. (The Epoch Times)However, the UK has recently experienced a 400 percent spike in gas prices, and a 250 percent price rise for electricity after a confluence of unforeseen factors throttled the country’s supply—including record low wind levels, a fire at a major France-UK electricity interconnector, nuclear plant outages, and a gas shortfall sweeping Europe.This has already led to the collapse of some energy providers while forcing other industries—such as steelmaking and manufacturing—to opt to shut down during peak hours to avoid paying exorbitant energy fees.Canavan cautioned against a repeat of the policies that have led to the UK crisis, saying he disagreed with the current “net zero” approach, which does not include nuclear, as the legislation could undermine Australia’s critical infrastructure.

“We should maintain the energy independence—we are lucky to have and grow our coal and gas production,” Canavan told The Epoch Times.