You may have heard about the Safeguard Mechanism and the changes made to this Abbott era policy. Here is a quick overview of what it is, why it’s important for our oceans and some home truths about the polluting offshore oil and gas industry.
What is the Safeguard Mechanism?
The Safeguard Mechanism was first introduced in 2016 as part of the Coalition government’s climate policy. It complements the emissions reduction elements of the Emissions Reduction Fund and is intended to send a signal to businesses to avoid increases in emissions beyond business-as-usual levels. The Australian Government’s Safeguard Mechanism (SGM) Amendment Bill 2023 was passed by Parliament in March 2023, with the new arrangements taking effect from 1 July 2023.
What does the Safeguard Mechanism mean for new offshore oil and gas, and our oceans?
The Safeguard Mechanism amendments negotiated between Labor and the Greens in March 2023 are an improvement on the original proposal, but still fall short of what the world’s climate scientists say is required to avoid dangerous climate change. The science is clear – we need to stop new fossil fuels, rapidly phase out existing fossil fuels while dramatically cutting our emissions and restoring our environment,
Unfortunately, the amendments still allow new fossil fuel projects to commence. One important addition is that a new hard cap, or ceiling, on actual or absolute emissions has been agreed to, and a limit on dodgy offset schemes Which won’t be able to exceed current carbon pollution levels and will decrease over time. This will result in some of the proposed fossil fuel projects not going ahead, including offshore oil and gas proposals.
This is a first step in stopping new fossil oil and gas, reducing our greenhouse pollution and protecting our oceans.