MELBOURNE – Australia’s election has brought a wave of greens and independents to push for aggressive targets to reduce carbon emissions, who will pressure the incoming Labor government to raise its climate plans if they want to pass a law.
The country’s biggest polluters in mining, oil and gas and construction materials are gradually tightening their grip on approved carbon emissions, while labor aims to increase demand for electric vehicles and accelerate the development of renewable energy.
The election results represent a significant change for Australia, with climate change playing a major role, one of the world’s leading per capita carbon emissions and top coal and gas exporter. It was boycotted at last year’s Glasgow climate conference for failing to meet the ambitious targets of other rich countries.
“Together we can end the climate war,” said incoming Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in his victory speech. “Together we can seize the opportunity to become Australia’s renewable energy superpower.”
Albany says Labor will maintain its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 43% by 2005 by 2030, which is far more difficult than reducing the outgoing Conservative government’s Paris target by 28%.
With votes still being counted, Labor lacks a majority in the lower house, so support for an extended cross-bench may be needed. Even with an absolute majority, it could face a fight in the Senate, where it will probably have to work with the Greens to pass legislation with a 2030 emissions target.
Ritchie Marjian, head of climate and energy at the Australian Institute, said: “Now the war will be on the ambit of short-term goals, a plan will be enacted to keep it out of the hands of any government and stop new fossil fuel mines.” Thought tanks
Greens wants to achieve net zero by 2035 instead of 2050, stop building new coal and gas infrastructure, and end coal-based production by 2030.
Labor will also face pressure from some climate-centric independents to push for at least a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030.
The work of fossil fuels
Defeated Prime Minister Scott Morrison once ridiculed Labor, pointing a coal shell at Parliament and saying, “Don’t be afraid.”
Since then, Labor – aware of its defeat in 2019 when it lost seats in coal- and gas-dependent regions – has dropped or slashed policies that could harm them.
Two days before the election, a senior labor politician praised the gas industry for building mega-projects that generate massive exports, predicting spending A $ 70 billion ($ 50 billion) this year.
“I want to be clear about how enthusiastic I am, but how enthusiastic labor is for this industry, because we know that it creates jobs and creates livelihoods,” said Madeleine King, the shadow minister for labor and resources at a petroleum conference.
Labor’s key climate policies include increasing demand for electric vehicles through tax breaks, providing cheap $ 20 billion to build transmissions for new renewable energy projects, and tightening the country’s emissions “protection system.”
The process sets an authorized emission base on 215 large mining, energy and materials companies that emit the equivalent of more than 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Companies are waiting for the details of the plan, which envisions lowering the baseline to reach net zero by 2050, but is largely unprepared by the proposal.
“On a bigger-picture level, it’s probably not going to feel very different from what we’ve already done,” Meg O’Neill, chief executive of gas producer Woodside Petroleum, told reporters this week.
The cost challenge could hamper the push for labor to achieve 82% renewable energy by 2030, with rising costs of equipment used in power lines, solar and wind farms. At the same time, electricity prices continue to rise, largely due to high global coal and gas prices.
“The next few years look terrible for energy users, and anyone in government will be under pressure to do so,” said Tenant Reid, head of climate and energy policy at the Australian Industry Group.
($ 1 = 1.4219 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Lincoln Feast and William Mallard)