On the 9th of March I gave a speech about the Safeguard Mechanism when it was before the House of Reps. The Greens were able to make changes to this bill using our balance of power in the Senate.
As it stands the Safeguard Mechanism locks in a massive expansion of coal and gas. Not only will it make the climate crisis worse, but will guarantee that we fail to keep warming anywhere near below 1.5 degrees.
What would that look like?
More bushfires, storms, heatwaves, floods, collapse of food systems, and massive sea level increases that will see cities like mine of Brisbane lose entire suburbs to a rising tide line.
This is what’s at stake when the scientists and experts say we can’t open new coal and gas projects. The International Energy Agency has been very clear. If we even want a 50% chance of reaching net zero by 2050, and limiting warming below 2 degrees, then the world can’t open a single new coal and gas project.
Instead this government have proposed a climate plan that could allow 117 new coal and gas projects. All they have to do is buy cheap offsets that would account for a fraction of their enormous, often tax free profits.
Just last week the environment minister Approved of 116 new Santos CSG wells in Qld, active til 2077
But it gets worse
Just one new giant gas project Labor is hoping will start in 2025 - Woodside’s Scarborough-Pluto climate bomb - will wipe out all the emissions of the Safeguard Mechanism to 2030.
Just one project. There are still five more massive gas projects that the government forecasts to start before 2030 when the world has to have halved pollution or we go beyond 1.5 degrees of warming.
It’s worth underlying this - just one of these gas projects - will literally produce more emissions than the Safeguard aims to save and there are five of them.
And when it comes to the offsets There is significant evidence that at least 75% of Australian carbon credits are not resulting in real emissions reductions - For example, credits being claimed and sold for not clearing land that was never going to be cleared anyway.
We’ve heard the Prime Minister boast that the Safeguard mechanism has been endorsed by Shell and Woodside as if that’s a good thing.
Of course they would support it - it allows them to make monster profits of oil and gas without changing a thing, and buying a few fake accounting trick offsets.
SO what’s driving this self destructive behaviour.
Well we know in the most recent election - Labor received more donations from fossil fuel corporations than even the Liberals and Nationals
Corporations like Woodside and Santos - who benefit to the tune of billions of dollars as a result of decisions made by Labor in this place.
68% of the emissions covered under the safeguard mechanism came from corporations that donated to the Labor party's election campaign - nearly $1 million
Corporations with major projects on the line like Santos, Woodside, Whitehaven Coal, Glencore and Tamboran, as well as peak member bodies like APPEA and the Minerals Council donated generously to both major parties.
I’ve seen Labor MPs get upset when we point out that
But really why else would they be spending millions of dollars if not to exert influence
And really the people that should be angry are Australians and future generations whos future is being sold out by a political class completely captured by fossil fuel corporate interests.
There is this myth perpetuated that Australia can’t really make much of an impact tackling climate change anyway
But let’s be very clear - Australia is the 3rd largest exporter of fossil fuels in the world
The alternative is clear