A mechanism to keep people safe

It’s 2023, and the Greens are still working to secure no more coal and gas and a mechanism to keep people safer. We aren’t asking for the perfect – we’re asking for the bare minimum.

Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens



o more coal and gas and a mechanism to keep people safer. The Greens aren’t asking for the perfect – we’re asking for the bare minimum.

So here we are. It’s 2023. And there are 117 new coal and gas projects in the pipeline. We can’t afford them.

Labor wants to pass its climate law. It’s called the safeguards mechanism. It’s Tony Abbott’s old scheme, reanimated, so that big polluters need to buy offsets if their pollution goes over a certain level.

Labor’s policy will make the climate crisis worse, because it backs new coal and gas mines.

The other problem is that any emissions reduction from coal and gas can be entirely on paper: pollution from coal and gas can go up as long as they buy enough permits (such as permits not to cut down trees). Labor will then claim an emissions ‘reduction’, even though more CO2 and methane gets pumped into the air.

Labor’s plan, according to them, will cut 205 million tonnes of pollution. Not only might this just be only an accounting reduction from coal and gas (see above), any climate gain is completely written off by just one of Labor’s planned new projects: the Scarborough-Pluto gas project, which would add around 232 million tonnes of carbon pollution over the same period.

The science is clear. We cannot afford any more coal and gas. It’s clear to the United Nations and our Pacific neighbours. We are the only party who take climate science seriously and are prepared to do what’s necessary.

No more coal and gas is the bare minimum.

Images of Adam at climate rallies



owever, just this week, Labor Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek approved 116 new gas wells, giving Santos the green light to frack in Queensland. The wells will have an operational life of 30 years and the approval lasts until 2077.

The Liberals have made it clear that they won't support Labor’s safeguard mechanism. That puts the Greens in balance of power in the Senate, so we have a choice.

We have offered to support the safeguards mechanism, and put all our concerns about the weak targets, the unlimited offsets and the holes in the scheme aside, if Labor simply agrees to stop approving new coal and gas.

Labor now has to explain why they want to keep approving more coal and gas. The onus is on them.

They have to explain how approving new mega gas projects, and extending and expanding the mining and burning of coal, is consistent with a safer climate.

The Greens are going to keep fighting to keep people safe from the climate crisis. The only way we’re going to be able to do that is by stopping new coal and gas.

We can expect Labor to attack us. We can expect fossil fuel corporations will cry poor. And we can expect corporate media outlets to make false claims.

But this is the fight we have to have. This is what the school strikers are demanding. We can’t afford to keep mining and burning coal and gas if we want a safer future.

The future we want is based on renewable energy, not coal and gas. The future we want is one where our laws and our safety is not determined by the interests of coal and gas corporations.

If Labor and Liberal want to take the coal and gas donations, and hand them public money to keep pouring more fuel on the climate fire, we’re going to take the fight up to them.

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