Community driven environment group Friends of the Earth Australia says the Morrison government’s push for fossil gas is reckless in the extreme amid the deepening climate crisis.
“The horror bushfires over summer and wildfires now burning in the United States show what’s in store if governments fail to tackle the climate crisis,” said Cam Walker of Friends of the Earth.
“Instead of accepting this reality and acting decisively to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged to back a failing gas industry with public funds.”
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s fossil gas plan is reckless in the extreme.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has today announced a range of measures designed to prop up the dirty gas industry, including subsidies of $52.9 million, a new ‘National Gas Infrastructure Plan’, and support to open up five new gas basins.
Many of the Coalition’s announcements echo the recommendations in the leaked interim report of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission’s Manufacturing Working Group. The working group has been widely criticised for being stacked with fossil fuel interests.
Friends of the Earth say the government’s plan reveals their willingness to put an ideological commitment to fossil fuels ahead of the reality of climate change and the threat it poses Australian communities.
“Without a course correction towards greater support for solar, wind, and storage, the government is condemning us to a future of dangerous climate impacts.”
“The Morrison Government is playing favourites and bankrolling projects that will lock our country into higher prices and climate destruction.”
Friends of the Earth and the environment movement will resist the government’s push for fossil fuels. A national day of action organised by the student led movement, School Strike 4 Climate, is planned for September 25.
The group will be calling on state governments to show greater leadership on climate and energy policy, where the Federal government’s failure is now complete.
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Key elements of the plan include:
- developing strategic plans to promote the development of five key new gas basins, starting with the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory, the North Bowen and Galilee Basin in Queensland; Narrabri is also understood to be a priority. The plans will cost $28.3 million, but the government has said it will also consider streamlining approvals, underwriting projects and pipelines, or offering other support
- setting new gas supply targets with states and territories and enforcing potential “use-it or lose-it” requirements on gas licenses
- demanding electricity generators come up with a plan for 1,000 megawatts of new dispatchable energy to replace the Liddell coal-fired power plant
- directing Snowy Hydro draw up plans for a new gas power plant at Kurri Kurri to be built if the industry does not
- setting up a National Gas Infrastructure Plan to identify the priorities for investment in the gas transport network
- establishing an "Australian Gas Hub" at Wallumbilla in central Queensland for domestic trade of gas
- supporting an industry-led, voluntary code of conduct for gas producers and consumers (with the threat of a mandatory code if agreement is not reached by February 2021)
- re-negotiating agreements with east coast gas exporters to ensure enough domestic supply is retained at reasonable prices.
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