The left-wing Australian Greens have offered to soften their demands for a proposed fossil fuel ban in order to reach a compromise with the centre-left Labor government to pass its carbon credit reforms in an effort to tackle climate change. The bill, known as the “Safeguard Mechanism Reforms (Crediting) Amendment bill,” requires Australia’s largest greenhouse gas emitters to keep their net emissions below an emissions limit. Businesses can “offset” emissions deemed in excess of government regulations by purchasing carbon credits.
Greens leader Adam Bandt suggested putting a “climate trigger” in the nation’s environment laws when assessing new coal and gas projects, and putting “a pause on approvals” while the government is looking at how to deal with the situation “in a holistic way.” He added that his party is willing to look at Labor’s suggestions on how to deal with coal and gas.
In its election promise, the Greens said they want to replace coal and gas with 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 and impose an “immediate ban on any new coal, oil, and gas projects.” Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen said he will discuss the issues within the parameters of the election mandate.
Shadow Energy Minister Ted O’Brien warned that Labor’s carbon tax mechanism in the name of saving our modern way of life from climate change would “whack businesses with new government imposed costs” at a time when families are “screaming out for help” as cost of living mounts. He also said that businesses would need to reduce their emissions by 5 percent a year, which is the highest demand of any government in the world.
Despite Labor’s election promise to reduce power bills by $275, Australian households are still bracing themselves for a double to triple-digit hike in their gas bills after two of Australia’s largest energy suppliers, AGL and Origin Energy, announced new gas rates in January. O’Brien warned that under the Albanese government’s policy, by 2030, the cost will be up to $100 per tonne of carbon emissions.