The Abbott-era policy hides its support for fossil fuel expansion behind a fig leaf of dodgy carbon credits and offsets

The enormous PEP-11 gas project off Sydney’s northern beaches is back in the headlines and the timing couldn’t be worse for a federal Labor government trying to rush a new climate policy through the parliament; a policy that does nothing to stop new gas and coalmines being built and doesn’t even stop major polluters increasing their emissions. Labor’s Madeline King must now remake the decision made by our undercover resources minister, Scott Morrison.

The gas project is so unpopular that, with an upcoming New South Wales election, even the Liberal premier, Dominic Perrottet, is campaigning against it. And federally, Labor is in a mad, but unnecessary, rush to get its new climate policy through the parliament. Unfortunately for the climate minister, Chris Bowen, the loudest supporters for his so-called safeguard mechanism are the fossil fuel industry. Just last week, Beach Energy, which is preparing to expand the Waitsia gas project in WA by 250 terajoules a day (that’s a lot), spoke up in its defence. There are 113 other gas and coal projects seeking approval in Australia, and by design, the safeguard mechanism will do nothing to stop any of them going ahead.

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