Climate change: Anthony Albanese calls for Greens to back safeguard mechanism

Anthony Albanese has backed gas as playing a key role in the transition to renewables, laying down the gauntlet for the Greens to drop its demands for a ban on new fossil fuel projects.

The Prime Minister is facing a Senate showdown over his landmark legislation to cap emissions on the nation’s largest emitters.

“My message is twofold. That a message to the Greens and others that for all of the rhetoric, if it doesn’t stack up, if it has a negative impact, then you’re not actually helping the transition of what you say your objectives are,” he told the AFR Business Summit on Tuesday.

The safeguard mechanism is a benchmark which requires Australia’s largest greenhouse gas emitters to keep their carbon footprint below a set limit.

Firms that breach the limit would be required to purchase carbon offsets or trade emissions with other companies.

First legislated by the Coalition in 2014, the safeguard mechanism replaced the Gillard-era emissions trading scheme.

It is a key component of Labor’s plan to reduce emissions by 43 per cent by 2030.

Mr Albanese questioned how both the Greens and the Coalition could oppose it given it was “supported universally” by business.

“I don’t know an opponent, in the business community, in the resources sector in any of these areas that require that certainty going forward,” he added.

The government has repeatedly said it would not agree to an outright moratorium, despite calls from the Greens to ban new coal and gas projects.

Leader Adam Bandt would not say if the minor party had resolved to shoot down the bill when asked on Monday evening.

“The offer that we’ve made and it is not an ultimatum, it is an offer,” he told ABC’s 7:30.

“We will put aside our concerns … we will support the legislation and we‘ll vote for it in parliament tomorrow with one change – stop making the problem worse. Stop opening up new coal and gas projects.”

“We have got the science and the people on our side. This is a bare minimum of what we need to do to ensure that our kids have a chance at a safe climate.”

Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen said a total ban on new fossil fuel projects would be “irresponsible”.

“It would be irresponsible to have a blanket ban of the nature of which the Greens have indicated,” he told ABC’s RN.

“That’s their view, but it’s an offer, not an ultimatum. (Mr Bandt) is happy to have good faith talks. We’ve had those and we’ll continue to have them”

Originally published as Anthony Albanese hits back at Greens, says they are ‘not helping’ progress climate policy

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