Gas’ Crucial Role in Reaching Net Zero Ignored by Safeguard Mechanism Changes

Australia’s oil and gas industry says the changes to the Safeguard Mechanism ignore the central role of natural gas in meeting Australia’s climate goals.

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) today said the sector is committed to net zero by 2050 and to economy-wide policy to drive down emissions.

However, APPEA Chief Executive Samantha McCulloch said the deal announced today would ultimately make Australia’s climate change targets harder and more costly to meet.

“Australia’s natural gas is critical to reaching net zero in Australia and the region, supporting the transition away from coal and providing reliable backup for renewables while powering Australian manufacturing,” Ms McCulloch said.

“The industry is also one of the biggest investors in emissions reduction and renewable technologies.

“Not only is new gas supply needed to support our climate change objectives, but it is also essential to avoid energy shortfalls and put downward pressure on prices.

“Australia needs to produce more gas to support decarbonisation across the economy and meet energy demand, as called for by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Australian Energy Markey Operator.

“New gas supply investment needs policy and regulatory certainty but instead, the Labor-Greens deal creates additional barriers to investment, further diminishing the investment environment and adding to the growing list of regulatory challenges facing the sector.”

The changes announced today strengthen the need for strong government direction on critical step change technologies such as carbon, capture and storage (CCS).

“If the government is serious about meeting net zero, it needs to lead on a national strategy for CCS development,” Ms McCulloch said.

“Australian gas is also needed to help our international partners decarbonise.

“According to the Federal Government, our exports have the potential to lower emissions in LNG-importing countries by around 166 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually replacing other higher emissions energy sources.

“Decisions that take emissions reductions options – such as natural gas – off the table make reaching net zero significantly harder and more costly.

“We can’t let politics and ideology get in the way of sensible, evidence-based climate and energy policy.”

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