Tue, 30 May 2023

CANBERRA, 27th March, 2023 (WAM) -- Australia's government expects to win approval for a flagship climate policy to rein in the country's worst polluters after agreeing to rules that could curb development of new fossil fuel projects, Bloomberg reported today.

The country's revised safeguard mechanism, which would compel around 215 of the nation's most emitting industrial sites to cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 4.9 percent a year by 2030, will now be backed by the minor opposition Australian Greens and is likely to pass through Parliament before coming into operation from July.

Concessions around emissions limits, the use of carbon offsets and funding made to secure support of the Greens will likely make a host of potential coal and gas developments unviable, according to the party's leader Adam Bandt.

"For the first time, new projects, coal and gas, will now have to undergo a pollution test," he told reporters in Canberra on Monday. "About half" of the 116 new coal and gas projects under consideration in Australia would not be able to go ahead under the new proposed legislation, he said.

An overhaul of the safeguard mechanism is seen as vital for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to achieve Australia's upgraded 2030 target for emissions reductions. The policy is intended to mandate tougher climate action for the entities it covers, which together account for around a quarter of Australia's total emissions.

The revised plans announced Monday will offer at least A$1 billion (US$665 million) for impacted industries that can support decarbonisation efforts, including the steel and cement sectors. The funding will not go toward any initiatives aimed at expanding the fossil fuel industry, the government said.

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