The draft Safeguard Mechanism rules released by the Federal Labor government today don’t go far enough and risk continuing to be captured by coal and gas interests.
The safeguard mechanism is primarily about regulating coal, oil and gas, with 57% of emissions covered by the scheme coming from those sectors.
The Chubb Review into carbon credits also released yesterday reinforces the Greens’ concerns about allowing unlimited offsetting as part of the Safeguard Mechanism reform. The use of Australian Carbon Credit Units instead of actual emission cuts, including those represented by Safeguard Mechanism Credits, risks filling the scheme with hot air.
The government is likely to need the Greens’ backing in the Senate for the rules, which are a disallowable instrument, and to pass the enabling legislation currently before the Parliament.
The Greens want to work with the government to ensure the Safeguard Mechanism delivers real and deep cuts to pollution, not just dodgy offsetting and an excuse for coal and gas to expand and keep polluting.
More than half of the facilities currently covered by the Safeguard Mechanism are coal or gas projects and the 118 coal, oil and gas projects in the investment pipeline will sabotage the Safeguard Mechanism unless they are dealt with by the government.
Quotes attributable to Acting Greens Leader Mehreen Faruqi:
“Labor’s Safeguard Mechanism is giving coal and gas a green light to keep expanding as long as they buy enough offsets.
“Coal and gas are making record profits. Buying offsets is just coins down the back of the couch for them. Coal and gas can’t be allowed to just buy their way out of real pollution cuts with dodgy offsetting.
“Coal and gas are causing the climate crisis, but Labor wants more.
“Labor says this law is about Australian industry, but really it’s directly about coal, oil and gas, with 57% of the pollution covered by the law coming from those three climate-destroying industries.
“The Greens want to work with the government to ensure the Safeguard Mechanism delivers real and deep pollution cuts, not just dodgy offsetting and an excuse for coal and gas to expand and keep polluting.
“The Greens will use our balance of power position to push Labor to stop opening up new coal and gas projects and ensure real cuts to pollution, not just hot air.
“The more we let coal and gas off the hook, the more everyone else will have to do. Australian households and manufacturing shouldn’t be asked to do more just so coal and gas can keep on expanding."