BHP, Origin Energy, Santos and Woodside are behind efforts to dirty up the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) by allowing it to invest in gas projects.
The CEFC was mandated to invest in clean energy projects, i.e. zero or low emissions projects. The Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, has tabled legislation to redefine “clean energy” in the CEFC’s mandate, to include gas, a fossil fuel.
APPEA’s submission to the 2017 Finkel Review demanded this exact amendment to the CEFC.
Commenting on the role of APPEA, Dan Gocher, Director of Climate and Environment, said:
“Rarely do we see such a blatant demonstration of state capture, in this case the redefining of ‘clean energy’ to suit a handful of gas companies, to the detriment of the rest of the country.
“Throughout COVID-19, APPEA has been off the leash, engaging in what can only be described as predatory lobbying. As members, BHP, Origin Energy, Santos and Woodside must be held accountable for such appalling and cynical advocacy during a pandemic.
“The value chain emissions from gas production - including fugitive methane emissions - are just as bad as coal. There is nothing clean or green about it.
“For years, these companies have claimed that APPEA’s advocacy for gas is consistent with the energy transition. This must be called out for the nonsense that it is.
“Let’s be clear: APPEA and its membership are standing in the way of the Paris Agreement.
“BHP recently published new global climate policy standards that apply to its industry associations. This latest episode demonstrates those principles are not worth the paper they’re written on.
“BHP and Origin Energy’s commitments to net zero emissions are meaningless while they continue to wreck the policy landscape in Australia.”
ACCR has filed shareholder resolutions with BHP Group Ltd (ASX:BHP) and Origin Energy (ASX:ORG), requesting both companies immediately review the advocacy of its industry associations relating to economic stimulus measures in response to COVID-19, and to suspend membership of groups if they are found to be advocating for measures inconsistent with the Paris Agreement.
- The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) has called for government support to develop “uneconomic or stranded” gas resources in order to extend the economic life of existing gas infrastructure. APPEA has repeatedly called for further oil and gas exploration, welcomed government subsidies, and lobbied for weaker environmental regulation.
- The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has called for weakened environmental assessments of mining projects, scrapping of environmental regulation, government subsidies for fossil fuel exploration, and opposed the inclusion of Scope 3 emissions in Australia’s National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme.
- The NSW Minerals Council published a report in July calling for the fast-tracked approval of 21 new or expanded coal mining projects, claiming they were necessary for economic recovery.
- The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) published a report in August that called for government support of $500 million for new gas pipeline infrastructure, incentives for further coal and gas exploration, amnesties from changes to royalties and taxes, and significant deregulation of the resources industry. The QRC has also welcomed government subsidies of $125 million for fossil fuel exploration and land releases for gas exploration, and called for the fast-tracking of coal mine approvals.