The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) is commenting on the commencement of Federal Government consultation on the Safeguard Mechanism, through the release of its discussion paper.
Commenting on the release of the Safeguard Mechanism discussion paper, Harriet Kater, Climate Lead (Australia) at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:
“Ever since the repeal of the Gillard government’s carbon price, heavy carbon emitters in Australia have essentially been unregulated.
“There has been no consequence for them using the atmosphere as a carbon dumping ground.
“Whilst the Safeguard Mechanism was introduced in 2016, it was intentionally configured to be toothless by the Coalition government.
“The commencement of this consultation is the potential dawn of a new era for regulation of heavy emitters in Australia - subject to the extent of industry influence on this process.
“Lobbying to diminish the effectiveness of the scheme will be like a blood sport for groups such as the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), the Minerals Council of Australia and the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network.
“These industries are used to getting their way when it comes to climate policy in this country. The climate wars have suited them just fine.
“Industry will be arguing for maximum flexibility, minimum obligation in the final scheme design.
“ACCR strongly encourages investors to monitor the conduct of companies and their industry associations throughout this policy design process. Companies supposedly committed to net zero by 2050 will very likely be lobbying against that outcome.
“Key aspects for consultation relate to the level of ambition built into the scheme, treatment of new entrants, the role of carbon credits and assistance for emissions intensive, trade exposed industries.
“The final settings for all of these scheme features will dictate whether this policy can drive actual emissions reductions or whether again, it will kick the can down the road.
“Australia can’t afford another ten years of climate inaction because of heavy industry’s tight grip on our climate policy.”