The Labor-Greens deal on the safeguard mechanism gives each party a win | Paul Karp
The Labor-Greens deal on the safeguard mechanism won’t put a stop to new coal and gas projects, but it will put a hard enough brake that we’ll hear the screech if any get the government’s go-ahead. For weeks the climate and energy minister, Chris Bowen, has been locked in negotiations determined to pass the signature climate bill without taking up the minor party’s “offer not ultimatum” of no new coal and gas.
Through rounds of interviews urging them to help reduce emissions, Bowen has ruled out a ban, a pause and a climate trigger in environmental approval laws.
But behind the scenes, the Greens were fashioning demands they say amount to the next best thing.
On Monday the deal was revealed. At its heart is a cap on participants’ emissions of 1,233m tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030 or about 140m tonnes a year.
Instead of an obligation on the environment minister to consider the greenhouse gas emissions of fossil fuel projects at the approval stage, the Climate Change Authority will report on whether expanded or new projects will blow the carbon budget.
The climate and…