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Safeguard mechanism debate heated by gas shortfall warning


Known as safeguard mechanism crediting, this element of the scheme would enable polluters to earn and trade carbon credits for their emissions cuts, and it is key to business community support.


Safeguard crediting would allow, for example, the cement company where there is no available technology option available to lower pollution to buy credits from a liquified gas processing plant that has switched from fossil fuels to clean solar power.

The Coalition has committed to blocking the safeguard crediting bill, so while there are enough Labor MPs in the lower house for the government to pass it, the government will rely on support from the Greens and two other crossbenchers in the Senate.

Bandt said in a speech to the Australia Institute last week that he was open to negotiations, but insisted on a ban on new fossil fuel projects.

“The Greens are offering Labor a way out. We’re not going to get everything we want, we understand that,” he said.

“We’re not in the parliament to be a rubber stamp, but nor are we going to simply dismiss anything that doesn’t meet our standards.


“But we are not afraid to oppose moves to open more coal and gas.”

However, Bowen said last week as he responded to AEMO’s gas shortage warning that more gas was needed to support the transition to renewable energy – to power fast-start gas plants to supply ready energy to the grid when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.

“It would be irresponsible to rule out new gas when we have this important transition under way and gas is an important and vital underpinning because it’s so flexible,” Bowen said.

Independent ACT senator David Pocock has identified concerns with scheme, including the ability granted to polluters to buy unlimited carbon offsets instead of cutting pollution, and Tasmanian senators Jacqui Lambie and Tammie Tyrrell said they remain in talks with the government.

Cut through the noise of federal politics with news, views and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up to our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here.

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