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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.

A Coal Bulk Carrier

Image Credit: Daniel Norris on Unsplash

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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.

Source: Tingey Injury Law Firm via Unsplash

Image Credit: Tingey Injury Law firm via Unsplash

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Public Submissions

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.

 

Recent submissions

Submission To (Government) Submitted   Notes / Outcomes
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.
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 Outcome pending
Victorian Renewable Energy Inquiry Victoria Nov-21 Our submission was cited about a dozen times in the inquiry's report.
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!      

 


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Australian Parents for Climate Action meet and work on the lands of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people and respect that sovereignty of those lands was never ceded. We pay respect to Elders, past and present and emerging, and acknowledge the pivotal role that Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within the Australian community.