OPERATIONS

Greens attempt to wedge Albo on Beetaloo and Scarborough

THE Australian Greens may oppose the Labor government's emissions reduction target of 43% on 2005 levels by 2030 as the party desperately attempts to stop development of the Scarborough gas project and Beetaloo Sub-Basin.

Greens attempt to wedge Albo on Beetaloo and Scarborough

 

On ABC's Insiders on Sunday, Greens leader Adam Bandt admitted the party could sit with Liberal and Nationals MPs in the Senate to block the Albanese government's 2030 target. 

The Greens seized the balance of power in the Senate in May after the election, with 12 seats in the Upper House. 

"My hope is it doesn't come to that because the government is able to sit with us and we can come up with better legislation," Bandt said. 

The Greens leader and lower house MP for Melbourne said reducing emissions by 43% on 2005 levels by the end of this decade was "weak" in a statement on Friday before the interview and the government "needed to do better" in the fight against climate change. 

He said 43% was only a short-term target and wanted more long-term mandates legislated. 

In the same breath he also took aim at Woodside's Scarborough gas project in Western Australia and ongoing exploration in the Beetaloo in the Northern Territory. 

The rhetoric follows earlier declarations by Bandt to kill all project proposals for oil and gas assets which are not yet in production. 

Now, it appears the Greens are attempting to wedge the Albanese government into withdrawing support for both Scarborough and the Beetaloo in exchange for legislating the 43% emissions reduction target.

"We're doing this because we want to cut Australia's pollution. That is why we're having these discussions," Bandt said. 

It marks a change in discourse for the Greens in their mission to kill off new gas projects. While Labor and other parties use "emissions" the Greens are now using "pollution." 

"Labor's weak climate targets will be blown if they proceed with new gas projects like the Beetaloo Basin, which will lift greenhouse pollution by up to 13%."

That 13% assumes a full-scale development of the frontier province in line with the US' vast Marcellus shale, which it is geologically analogous to. This would equate to 11 trillion cubic feet of gas production annually. The area remains in the appraisal stage and is far from sending a single molecule to market. 

However Bandt this week was echoed by International Energy Agency director Dr Fatih Birol who also does not see a place for Scarborough longer term despite such tight gas markets. 

 

He told the AFR, Scarborough would lock gas into energy markets for decades to come. 

 

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A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the energy sector, brought to you by the Energy News Bulletin Intelligence team.

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