The Albanese government has announced that a final deal has been reached between Labor and the Greens on the Safeguard Mechanism. What was in the final deal?
In big news yesterday, the Albanese government announced that a final deal has been reached between Labor and the Greens on the Safeguard Mechanism.
This is a historic moment: the first policy to force the country's biggest polluters to lower their emissions will be enacted.
Let's get straight to the juicy detail: What's in the new and improved Safeguard Mechanism?
Here are the key ways that the Safeguard Mechanism has been strengthened as a result of negotiations between Labor, the Greens, and the Teal MPs:
- A hard cap on emissions will now force fossil fuel companies to actually cut real emissions, not just buy their way out with offsets.
- This hard cap means that many of the 116 proposed new coal and gas projects in the pipeline cannot go ahead.
- The viability of two of these projects - the Beetaloo Basin and Barossa gas fields - has plummeted.
Dodgy offsets stopped: the use of low integrity offsets for companies has been frozen and will have to go through an independent audit.
No more unlimited offsets: Any company wanting to use offsets for more than 30% of its emissions cuts will need to go through a process justifying why.
Methane monitoring of coal and gas projects will be toughened, meaning deeper cuts in powerful methane emissions.
- Public funding for the Powering The Regions Fund cannot be directed to new coal and gas projects.
- A new Safeguard Pollution Trigger will require governments to assess the impact of new fossil fuel projects on the climate, and be able to stop them on this basis.
These are the top line items, but there's more in the detail. Check out The Climate Council's blog for more of a wrap-up.
It's a lot to digest. Here's our take on this outcome:
Community members getting organised and raising their voices with a call for the Albanese government to 'Safeguard Our Climate, Not Polluter Profits' had a strong impact on the wins secured in this deal.
When the original proposed reforms to the Safeguard Mechanism were put on the table in January, we saw big alarm bells.
Fossil fuel companies were going to be given unlimited use of dodgy offsets to avoid making real emissions cuts. There were going to be no particular hurdles put in the way of new fossil fuel projects.
In response, community groups around the company mobilised to make our voices louder than the lobbying and money of the fossil fuel industry.
To be clear: we know, of course, that this policy still isn't in line with what climate scientists say is necessary to avoid dangerous global warming. We still have big fights ahead of us when it comes to stopping new fossil fuel projects and making the rapid economy-wide emissions cuts required.
But we want to acknowledge that the deal struck has now significantly strengthened the Mechanism to bring our national climate policy another step closer to where we need it to be in order to tackle the climate crisis.
Here are some of things Act on Climate and other climate groups in Narrm/Melbourne did in the last few months...
Delivered letters to the three Dirty Dozen companies with offices in Narrm - Shell, BHP and Exxon - calling on them to publicly support a strong Safeguard Mechanism.
- Teamed up with other local groups to hold a weekly vigil outside BHP.
- Held an info night to get community members up to speed on the opportunity to influence the Safeguard Mechanism and get people active.
- Educated the community on social media about the Safeguard Mechanism and the histories of the Dirty Dozen Polluters that the policy will affect.
- Helped community members meet with their federal Labor MPs to make the case for the Safeguard Mechanism to be properly strengthened.
- Act on Climate campaigner Anna joined a national delegation of community members in Canberra to meet with Labor, Greens and Independent MPs.
- Staged cheeky creative actions at the Dirty Dozen Polluters' offices, including a tug of war between the community and the fossil fuel industry BHP and an oil spill at Shell.
- And finally... we teamed up with Ellen Burbidge from The Juice Media to do some redecorating at ExxonMobil's lobby. Watch this video if you need a good chuckle.
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The fight for climate justice is a long road. And it's important to mark the wins along the way, so we can fuel ourselves up to continue the fight tomorrow.
We want to send massive shoutouts to all the community members in groups around the country who have been part of the last few months of action.
Take a look at the bottom of this page for a timeline chronicling the creative actions that community groups took nationwide.
We undoubtably had impact, and the fossil fuel industry is on notice. (If you don't believe us, take a look at how fossil fuel companies are looking on the stock market this morning after the announcement...)
Get on the phone or go for a celebratory cold one with your comrades to mark the win - and then, as always, we'll see you back on the campaign trail!