Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Analysis - In sharp switch, Australia votes for climate action

Commodities May 22, 2022 02:00AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. Anthony Albanese, leader of Australia's Labor Party, shows a thumbs up sign while addressing supporters after incumbent Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Scott Morrison conceded defeat in the country's general election, in Sydney, Australia May 21 2/2

By Sonali Paul

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's election has brought in a wave of Greens and independents pushing for aggressive targets to cut carbon emissions, who will pressure the incoming Labor government to step up its climate plans if it wants to pass any legislation.

The country's biggest polluters in mining, oil and gas and building materials face a gradual tightening of allowed carbon emissions, while Labor aims to boost demand for electric vehicles and speed up renewable energy developments.

The election result, with the pivotal role climate change played, represents a remarkable shift for Australia, one of the world's biggest per capita carbon emitters and top coal and gas exporters. It was shunned at last year's Glasgow climate summit for failing to match other rich nations' ambitious targets.

"Together we can end the climate wars," incoming Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in his victory speech. "Together we can take advantage of the opportunity for Australia to be a renewable energy superpower."

Albanese has said Labor would maintain its target of cutting carbon emissions 43% from 2005 levels by 2030, already much tougher than the outgoing conservative government's Paris target of a cut of up to 28%.

With votes still being counted, Labor is short of a majority in the lower house of parliament, so may need the support of an expanded cross-bench. Even with an outright majority, it could face a fight in the Senate, where it will likely to need to work with the Greens to pass legislation, including the 2030 emissions target.

"Now the battle will be over ambition in short-term targets, legislating a plan so it's out of the hands of any one government, and hitting pause on new fossil fuel mines," said Richie Merzian, climate and energy head at the Australia Institute think tank.

The Greens want to achieve net zero by 2035 rather than 2050, stop new coal and gas infrastructure being built, and end coal-fired generation by 2030.

Labor will also face pressure from a handful of climate-focussed independents pushing for emissions reductions of at least 50% by 2030.

FOSSIL FUEL JOBS

Defeated Prime Minister Scott Morrison once mocked Labor, brandishing a lump of coal in parliament saying, "Don't be afraid."

Since then, Labor - conscious of its defeat in 2019 when it lost seats in regions reliant on coal and gas jobs - has dropped or diluted policies that could hurt them.

Two days ahead of the election, a senior Labor politician heaped praise on the gas industry for building mega-projects that generate massive exports, forecast to reap A$70 billion ($50 billion) this year.

"I want to be clear how enthusiastic I am, but also how enthusiastic Labor is for this industry, because we know that it creates jobs and creates livelihoods," Labor's shadow minister for resources, Madeleine King, told a petroleum conference.

Labor's key climate policies are to boost demand for electric vehicles through tax breaks, provide A$20 billion in cheap finance to build transmission for new renewable energy projects and tighten the country's emissions "safeguard mechanism".

That mechanism sets a baseline of allowable emissions on the 215 big mining, energy and materials companies that emit more than 100,000 tonnes a year of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Companies are awaiting details on the plan, which envisions ratcheting down the baselines to get to net zero by 2050, but are largely unfazed by the proposal.

"At a big-picture level, it's probably not going to feel very different from commitments we've already made," Meg O'Neill, chief executive of gas producer Woodside (OTC:WOPEY) Petroleum, told reporters this week.

Cost challenges could hamper Labor's push to achieve 82% renewable energy by 2030, with the rising cost of materials used in power lines, solar and wind farms. At the same time power prices are set to soar, mostly due to high global coal and gas prices.

"The next couple of years look awful for energy users, and whoever's in government will be under pressure over that," said Tennant Reed, climate and energy policy head at Australian Industry Group.

($1 = 1.4219 Australian dollars)

Analysis - In sharp switch, Australia votes for climate action
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp May 22, 2022 7:05AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
The climate is changing, has changed for millions of years and will change no matter who you vote for.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email