Greens could sink Labor’s gas industry scheme over concerns it supports fossil fuel expansion
The mandatory code implemented by the Albanese government for the gas industry may face challenges, as the Greens have promised to reject the program due to its support for new gasfields despite the escalating climate crisis.
The Green party plans to initiate a vote of disapproval in the Senate on the upcoming Monday, arguing that the code, which sets a price limit of $12 per gigajoule, has only favored large gas consumers. Furthermore, uncontracted supplies of this non-renewable resource have been redirected towards the domestic market.
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But other elements of the code, including ministerial exemptions to “promote investment in, and production of new gasfields” were provisions the Greens “could not endorse”.
According to the leader of the Greens party, Adam Bandt, during a period of climate emergency, Labor is authorizing the establishment of additional coalmines and offering financial benefits for the development of new gas fields. The Greens are against this decision as gas is just as harmful to the environment as coal, and they will take all possible measures to prevent Labor from further contributing to the climate crisis by promoting these industries.
“Labor should assist in the transition away from gas for businesses, industries, and households, rather than permitting the creation of large-scale sources of climate pollution.”
In December 2022, the government stepped in to establish restrictions on the prices of black coal and gas for domestic consumption, in response to a significant increase in wholesale electricity prices in eastern Australia.
In April, the government prolonged the limit on gas prices until at least the middle of 2025, stating the importance of controlling electricity prices that were expected to rise by 25% or more. Ministers also mentioned that the regulation would provide producers with the assurance to invest in the supply, among other results.
The energy minister, Chris Bowen, was contacted by Guardian Australia for a response.
At a Lowy Institute event on Tuesday evening, Bowen stated that gas is a crucial component of the energy transition due to its ability to quickly adjust and support the fluctuating output of renewable energy sources.
According to the speaker, the consumption and availability of gas are decreasing at a rapid rate. As a result, there will be a deficit in the years 2026-2027 and measures will need to be taken to address it.
The Greens are optimistic about receiving backing from the Coalition. Members of the Liberal party, such as Andrew Bragg and Dean Smith, have published a contrasting report on the gas code, stating that government actions have had a detrimental impact on Australia’s reputation as an energy provider.
The Greens have expressed their support for a revised code, as long as it does not promote the development of new gas resources. They believe that there will not be a shortage of gas on the east coast for another four years.
Alternatively, the government could utilize this opportunity to accelerate the conversion of gas appliances in households and commercial establishments to electricity, in order to decrease demand. Additionally, they suggested utilizing export control measures to prevent the export of gas and instead limit its use to domestic purposes.