Pages tagged "climate policy"
Would ending new fossil fuel approvals be good for the economy?
It is indisputable that fossil fuels, produced and consumed anywhere on the globe, are gravely endangering the environment on which we all depend for our food, fresh water, oxygen, physical and mental health. And we know that alternative clean industries present Australia with enormous job and investment opportunities (if Australia remains globally competitive in clean energy industries). So why are we on track to open new projects?
The International Energy Agency (whose membership comprises major fossil fuel producing countries including Australia) determined that, to avoid that catastrophic outcome, the cutoff for approvals of new fossil fuel projects was 2021. Delaying this date any later will have increasingly costly consequences and will undermine our ability to provide a duty of care to all Australians.
Yet Prime Minister Albanese has claimed – without providing evidence – that if Australia took that momentous, desperately needed step, it would “devastate” our economy.
Is the PM correct? In a word, no.
Image Credit: Daniel Norris on UnsplashRead more
What Could a Good Climate Action Bill Look Like?
Last week we talked about what is in the government’s Climate Change Bill. Which was to say, not much, really. In this post we look more broadly at what sort of climate legislation Australian Parents for Climate Action would like to see, based on what we proposed in our submission to the Senate Inquiry.
Image Credit: Tingey Injury Law firm via UnsplashRead more
Our Policy and Submissions volunteer team provide parents' perspectives on a range of climate and related policy matters. They develop submissions relating to proposed legislation, government policy (mainly at federal and state level) and certain emissions intensive development projects.
On this page you can find some of our previous submissions. All are vetted by a member of AP4CA's leadership to ensure they represent our goals of non-partisan, respectful & professional, parent-led climate action.
Do submissions work? In a word, yes!
Many of our submissions have been referenced or included in final decisions. Though sometimes, even overwhelming support for a particular outcome doesn't move fossil-fuel-obsessed governments or a legislatively-hamstrung administration. It's important to understand who will read your submission (hint: it's normally a public servant, rarely a politician), and whether the argument you are making is within their legislative or regulatory remit to act upon. One of the challenges we face is that Australia's laws often don't actually work to protect our environment or safeguard our rights to a safe climate, except in very specific circumstances. On the other hand, sometimes governments seek genuine consultations, and are willing to be swayed or even guided by submissions received. Context matters.
Interested in joining our Policy and Submissions team? Sign up to volunteer here.
|Submission||To (Government)||Submitted||Notes / Outcomes|
Safeguard Mechanism reform:
|Australian Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment & Water||Feb-23||
"Australian Parents for Climate Action is deeply concerned that the proposed amendments to the Safeguard Mechanism (SGM) may not reduce the 28% of Australia’s emissions covered by the SGM by the claimed 4.9% per annum and may allow SGM emissions to increase. It sanctions a “pay to pollute” mindset rather than genuine emissions reduction, and does nothing to prevent new fossil fuel projects that are likely to increase emissions within the scheme."
|National Energy Performance Strategy (NEPS)||Australian Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment & Water||Feb-23||
"Energy Performance" in this context basically means energy efficiency: boring but critically important. The strategy will focus on buildings (residential/commercial) and lighter industry. We proposed a more holistic approach given that electrification of buildings and transport delivers efficiency benefits but also creates new loads on the distribution network. On the other hand, water heaters, EVs, rooftop solar, batteries etc. can be used cleverly to balance supply and demand in ways that will greatly reduce the amount of new investment in the distribution network that would be needed otherwise.
AP4CA's submission urged an end to fossil fuel subsidies, which would free up funds to #SolarOurSchools amongst other initiatives. The budget will be released in May.
|"Living Wonders" submissions x18 (example AP4CA submission attached here)||Minister for the Environment||Nov-22||
Legal intervention by Environmental Justice Australia on behalf of the Environment Council of Central Queensland (ECoCeQ) resulted in the requirement for 18 fossil fuel projects around the country to be reconsidered in the light of thousands of pages of new evidence about how climate harms from such projects would incrementally directly and deleteriously affect sensitive Australian ecosystems. AP4CA was proud to help amplify this amazing initiative.
|National Energy Transition Authority||Senate Standing Committee on Economics||Nov-22||
Establishment of an authority to coordinate the transition to clean energy and sunset of the fossil fuel industry - including justice for workers and communities in affected sectors - is sorely needed and it was refreshing to see the new government launching this consultation. However, as we point out in our submission, to limit it to coal mine and power plant workers, when the real scope is far, far broader.
|NSW EPA Climate Action Policy||NSW Environmental Protection Agency||Nov-22||
This consultation was triggered by the successful legal action taken by the Environmental Defenders Office on behalf of the courageous Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action in 2021, which forced the NSW Government to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to consider the impacts of climate pollution in its assessments.
|National Electric Vehicle Strategy||Australian Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment & Water||Oct-22||
The Department is now developing the National Electric Vehicle Strategy. Meanwhile in December the government announced a range of supports for EV purchases, including measures designed to accelerate uptake by fleet buyers.
|Native Forest Wood Waste in the Renewable Energy Target (RET)||Australian Department of Industry, Science & Resources||Oct-22||
The Renewable Energy Target (RET) has allowed companies to monetise investments in renewable energy generation by creating and selling renewable energy certificates (RECs). While most RECs are for solar and wind generation, there has been a seldom used capability in the scheme to burn wood waste to generate electricity. We are hoping the new Labor government will shut this down.
In December 2022 it was announced that native forest wood waste would not be permitted as part of RET projects. Over 2,900 submissions were received, almost all opposing the concept.
|EPBC Climate Trigger||Senate Inquiry||Oct-22||
The Greens introduced legislation to add a "climate trigger" that would require the Environment Minister to take account of a project's impact on climate change when evaluating under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. AP4CA strongly supports the introduction of a climate trigger, as it would inevitably mean (if implemented correctly) that new coal and gas projects (and expansions) requiring assessment under the Act could not be approved.
|Chubb Review into Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs)||Australian Department of Industry, Science & Resources||Sep-22||
The Review was established by the ALP to seek views on the integrity of ACCUs, and the broader impacts of activities incentivised under the ACCU scheme framework. In findings handed down in early 2023, "the Panel concludes that the ACCU scheme arrangements are essentially sound, incorporating mechanisms for regular review and improvement, and recommends a number of changes to clarify governance, improve transparency, facilitate positive project outcomes and co-benefits, and enhance confidence in the integrity and effectiveness of the scheme." This was somewhat disappointing given evidence presented to the Review.
|Safeguards Mechanism Consultation||Australian Department of Climate Change, Energy and Water||Sep-22||
The Safeguards Mechanism was regulated by the Turnbull Government in a tokenistic effort to reduce emissions by Australia's largest emitting facilities. These 213 (or so) facilities collectively emit 28% of Australia's total reported domestic emissions (and rising). Over half of those emissions are from the operation of gas and coal mines - the energy associated with getting the stuff out of the ground and the (woefully under-reported) fugitive methane and carbon dioxide emissions. Over half the emissions are from facilities controlled by just ten companies.
The new Labor Government is trying to tighten the scheme, with the intention that it will reduce emissions by 5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per annum between now and 2030 in order to align with the 43% national target.
|Biodiversity Offsets Consultation||Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry||Sep-22||New Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has announced that she supports the use of biodiversity offsets. While there can be valid uses - to protect sensitive ecosystems that might not otherwise be protected (including, for example, where nature-based carbon credits are don't work) - there are many issues with their use and regulation, as has been exposed most recently by the damning findings of the NSW Audit Report.|
|Comment on Central Queensland Coal Refusal||Australian Environment Minister||Aug-22||Comment on the Minister for the Environment's draft decision to refuse permission for a new coal mine. Apparently the first time this has happened, though for reasons primarily related to the project's proximity to the Great Barrier Reef. Early in 2023 the Minister confirmed that Clive Palmer's mine would be blocked.|
|Climate Change Bill (2022)||Australian Senate Inquiry||Aug-22||The Climate Change Act became law in September 2022 without material further changes. It legislates 43% off 2005 emissions levels by 2030 (as a floor) and net zero by 2050, and includes the requirement for advice from the currently-compromised Climate Change Authority. Since then, Minister Bowen has appointed three additional members to the board of the CCA, which AP4CA welcomes (but has not removed contentious members such as the current Chair Grant King, a former head of Origin Energy).|
|Select Committee on Public and Active Transport||South Australia||Aug-22||Prepared by the SA local AP4CA Group!|
|Narrabri Underground Mine Stage 3 Extension Project||NSW Independent Planning Commission||Feb-22||
Project approved by the NSW Independent Planning Commission :(
If constructed it will be one of the highest emitting coal mines in Australia as there is a lot of methane in the coal seam.
|Warratah Coal Call In - Qld state government realising that it was inappropriate for a local council to be in the position of determining a substantial coal mine||Queensland||Nov-21||The project was called in and is now being reconsidered at State level. Outcome pending|
|Victorian Renewable Energy Inquiry||Victoria||Nov-21||Our submission was cited about a dozen times in the inquiry's report. In October 2022, the Victorian Government announced targets for 2035 of 95% renewable electricity and 75-80% off economy-wide emission (vs 2005 levels). This is one of the most ambitious targets in the world!|
|Inquiry into the Response of Western Australian Schools to Climate Change||Western Australia||Nov-21||Our submission was cited in the committee's report in a context that suggests that our comments that participation in climate action conveys positive mental health benefits for children and young people may in part have inspired one of the main themes of the report: "Making Hope Practical."|
|NSW Future Transport||Transport for NSW||Nov-21||We have not been advised of outcomes from the consultation.|
|National Construction Code Public Comment||Australian Building and Construction Board||Oct-21||We supported a Zero Emissions Homes campaign led by building sustainability professionals and academics. The NCC changes have not yet been determined.|
|NT Greenhouse Gas Emissions Offset Policy||Northern Territory||Oct-21||"A Northern Territory government promise to ensure all greenhouse gas emissions from fracking the Beetaloo Basin will be offset is in doubt, according to a government-appointed policy watchdog."|
|Senate Economics References Committee: Australia's Oil and Gas Reserves||Australian Senate Inquiry||Aug-21||The committee's report's recommendations can be found here. In particular it was refreshing to see this: "As Australia transitions to net zero emissions by 2050, the committee recommends that the Australian Government consider supporting the diversification and transition to clean and renewable energy especially in areas like green hydrogen, with a role also for blue hydrogen. It is critical to ensure workers are not left behind and this could be achieved through measures like new energy apprenticeships to ensure that the necessary skills are developed."|
|Proposal to open the NSW Hawkins Rumker region for coal mining||NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment||Aug-21||Hawkins Rumker was formally ruled out for coal exploration.|
|Victorian Gas Substitution Roadmap||Victoria||Jul-21||The Victorian Government has acknowledged that gas emissions must be reduced and proposed a combination of "energy efficiency, electrification, hydrogen and biogas to drive down bills and enhance access to an affordable, secure, reliable and safe supply of energy."|
|Inquiry into Oil and Gas Exploration and Production in the Beetaloo Basin||Senate Environment and Communications References Committee||Jul-21||The new federal government reopened submissions in August and will accept previous submissions in its assessment, with the report due by 14 February 2023. Meanwhile, NT Labor has passed resolutions opposing fracking in the NT and Origin Energy, one of several firms with gas exploration licenses in the Beetaloo Basin, has walked away from its holding, selling it at a loss.|
|Hunter Power (Kurri Kurri Gas Power Plant)||NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (proponent: Snowy Hydro, at the direction of the Australian Government||Jun-21||
Despite a concentrated opposition campaign the project was approved. Inexplicably, the project was not sited near a suitable gas service, and the pipeline has not yet been approved.
AP4CA jointly ran a Submissions Workshop, which resulted in dozens of additional submissions.
|Post 2025 Market Design Options Paper||Australian Energy Security Board||Jun-21||Not yet concluded. The ESB has indicated a preference for a so-called capacity mechanism and other regulation that could result in coal fired generators being paid to stay open longer than necessary. In August 2022, State & Federal Energy Ministers were again urged to reject these reforms.|
|Inquiry into the Prudential Regulation of Investment in Australia's Export Industries||Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth||Apr-21||This inquiry was called for by the previous Federal Resources Minister (Keith Pitt) in an attempt to shame banks who had announced moratoria on their funding of coal projects. The committee's report called for a number of further reviews. To our knowledge, no regulatory changes or legislation has come out of the inquiry.|
|NSW Design & Place SEPP||NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment||Apr-21||The SEPP was the first attempt by the NSW Government to require serious planning for climate resilience. It was bitterly fought by property developers as documented in this article, and was dumped by the new Planning Minister earlier in 2022.|
|Future Fuels Strategy consultation||Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources||Apr-21||The former government's resulting climate-related transport policy was a disappointment, with transport emissions projected to increase 6% during the decade.|
|EPBC (Standards & Assurance) Bill 2021||Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee||Mar-21||The new Federal Environment Minister has vowed to implement the findings of the Samuels Review, something the previous government did not.|
|More to come - watch this space as we populate this page!|