Climate Council proposes a pause on new coal and gas as Safeguard Mechanism debate continues

15.02.23 By
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As debate over settings for a stronger Safeguard Mechanism continues today, the Climate Council is calling for new polluting projects to be assessed under an improved Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) in the first instance. 

Quotes attributable to Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie:

“To ensure that new projects do not blow Australia’s emissions budget and scuttle the intended benefits of reforming the Safeguard Mechanism, the Australian Government should ensure that any proposed new entrants to this scheme have passed a rigorous environmental assessment.

“The Safeguard Mechanism is not designed as a review process for new projects, but the EPBC Act is. Any new project which is expected to produce harmful carbon pollution of 100,000 tonnes or more a year, which is the threshold for the Safeguard Mechanism, should be considered under the EPBC Act regardless of whether it triggers any other current criteria.

“With the government currently in the process of reforming the EPBC Act to strengthen the assessment of carbon pollution in project approvals, a pause should be placed on new projects under the Safeguard Mechanism until these reforms are in place.

“The Australian Government is pursuing two important reforms to our federal policy toolkit for driving down emissions, but these shouldn’t proceed on parallel tracks. 

“New projects under the Safeguard Mechanism should be subject to scrutiny under a stronger EPBC Act to ensure that they won’t drive more harmful climate change and put a safer climate further out of reach.”

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