Origin must abandon gas exploration to be 1.5°C aligned
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) is commenting on Origin Energy’s (ASX:ORG) commitment to a ‘Say on Climate’: a shareholder advisory vote on its climate transition plan at its 2022 annual general meeting.
Origin has also published an updated industry association review.
Dan Gocher, Director of Climate & Environment at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:
“While Origin’s commitment to a Say on Climate is welcome, its plans to develop the Beetaloo and Canning Basins are inconsistent with its commitment to a 1.5°C pathway and the Paris Agreement.
“Put simply, Origin’s oil and gas expansion does not align with any of its commitments on climate.
“Origin continues to mislead shareholders by saying it will be accredited with a 1.5°C science-based target whilst it seeks to expand oil and gas production. Suggesting it is possible makes a mockery of climate science.
“The International Energy Agency’s recently published Net Zero by 2050 report confirms that we cannot develop any new coal, gas or oil deposits if we are to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
“Origin’s outdated Science Based Target is aligned with 2°C warming and is based entirely on closing the Eraring coal-fired power station at the end of its economic life, and little else. As Eraring accounts for approximately two thirds of Origin’s emissions, the target actually allows Origin to grow its gas business. It is completely flawed.
“Investors will expect Origin to deliver a credible climate transition plan ahead of its 2022 AGM. Origin will be expected to set targets for all of its Scope 3 emissions—including those from Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) exports, which are currently excluded from its targets.
“If Origin were genuine about its climate commitments, it would rip the bandaid off and end its association with industry groups that continue to advocate for fossil fuel expansion. Instead it sits idle and directly benefits from the gas subsidies that have been unlocked by aggressive lobbying.
“Since the start of the pandemic, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), has lobbied relentlessly for a ‘gas-fired recovery’. In its 2020 annual report, APPEA took credit for the Australian government’s rhetoric on gas, and the flood of subsidies that the government has committed to the gas industry in the last 12 months (see below).”
Origin Energy becomes the sixth ASX-listed company to have committed to a ‘Say on Climate’. The others are AGL Energy, Oil Search, Rio Tinto, Santos and Woodside Petroleum.
ACCR published a report on APPEA’s long record of negative advocacy on climate and energy policy in June.
Direct and indirect subsidies to the gas industry as part of the ‘gas-fired recovery’:
(Those highlighted may directly benefit Origin Energy)