On the release of the Albanese Government’s consultation paper on safeguard mechanism reform, the Australian Conservation Foundation’s climate program manager Gavan McFadzean said:
“ACF welcomes the release of this paper and looks forward to engaging in the process to turn the safeguard mechanism from a broken tool into an effective scheme to cut emissions from the nation’s major polluters.
“The safeguard mechanism has the architecture to achieve credible emissions reductions in important sectors so Australia can remain competitive in a decarbonising world.
“Emissions limits for facilities covered by the mechanism could be prescriptive and ambitious, ratcheting down in a predictable way and aligned with the government’s emissions reduction targets.
“A predictable phase down would give industry incentives to come up with innovative energy saving solutions to run their businesses more cleanly and efficiently.
“Among other changes, ACF believes the safeguard mechanism should be amended to remove the multi-year monitoring period as an option for facilities that exceed their emissions limits, and make sure baselines reduce over time in line with a 1.5° to 2° pathway.
“There is no room for new coal and gas projects if we want a safe climate for all.
“Amendments should also remove renewable energy generators from the sectoral baseline calculation for electricity generators.
“If all electricity generators are lumped together, coal and gas get a free ride by hiding behind renewables’ low emissions profile.
“This prolongs the life of old power stations, delaying the transition to clean energy and increasing reliability risks as old generators go offline unexpectedly at peak demand times.
“ACF looks forward to participating in the consultation process to turn the safeguard mechanism into an effective tool to cut emissions from industry.”