The 118 coal and gas projects in the planning system, as identified in yesterday's release of the Resources and Energy Quarterly, severely threaten Australia's ability to meet its emission reduction goals and the world’s ability to mitigate the climate crisis, says Lock the Gate Alliance.
“Even if just a handful of these projects are actually built, they will push climate change dangerously close to a point of no return,” said Lock the Gate Alliance national coordinator Carmel Flint.
“Communities across Australia have spent another year picking up the pieces after catastrophic climate events made worse due to the burning of fossil fuels.
“The International Energy Agency says there must be no new fossil fuel projects if we’re to stand a chance of reining in out of control climate change.
“For the Australian Government to even be considering 118 new coal and gas projects should be unthinkable, yet here it is in black and white.”
Ms Flint said if the Albanese Government allowed the construction of the coal and gas projects, it would unfairly burden regular Australians and other industries who would have to shoulder an even greater share of Australia’s emission reductions.
“The Albanese Government is soon to announce proposed rules for the Safeguard Mechanism to ensure big industrial polluters do their part in Australia’s emission reduction,” she said.
“But if those rules allow these 118 coal and gas projects to proceed, then our biggest polluters will effectively get a free pass while the full burden of reducing emissions will fall back on everyday Australians and other sectors like farming and manufacturing.
“We don’t want to see everyday Australians and farmers unfairly punished while the government ticks off new coal mine and gasfield expansions.”
However, the report offers a silver lining, stating (Page 6) there is “an expanding list of lenders and investors withdrawing finance to new thermal coal projects. Some pension and equity funds are also divesting from, or reducing their exposure to, thermal coal, limiting the range of investment financing options available to thermal coal project developers.”
“But we can’t rely on the market alone to solve the climate crisis,” Ms Flint said.
“Here in Australia, we need stronger intervention from the Albanese Government and the states to ensure our climate remains safe for future generations to prosper.”