Natural gas crucial in bolstering Australian manufacturing amid Safeguard Mechanism downplay – says APPEA

Image credit: APPEA

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) chief executive Samantha McCulloch has underscored the role of natural gas in achieving net zero while also powering Australian manufacturing, in response to the planned tightening of the Safeguard Mechanism, which ignores the central role of natural gas in meeting Australia’s climate goals.

APPEA said in a media release that the sector is committed to net zero emissions by 2050 and an economy-wide approach to reducing emissions.

However, McCulloch stated that the proposed legislative changes would make Australia’s climate change goals more complex and expensive to accomplish in the long term.

The APPEA official said Australia must produce more gas in order to achieve economic decarbonization and meet energy demand, as supported by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

“New gas supply investment needs policy and regulatory certainty but instead, the Labor-Greens deal creates additional barriers to investment, further diminishing the investment environment and adding to the growing list of regulatory challenges facing the sector,” McCulloch argued.

The legislative revisions made public on Monday, according to APPEA, reinforce the need for firm government guidance on crucial step-change technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS).

McCulloch stated that if the government is serious about achieving net zero, it needs to take the lead on a national strategy for CCS development.

“According to the Federal Government, our exports have the potential to lower emissions in LNG-importing countries by around 166 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually replacing other higher emissions energy sources,” she noted.

McCulloch added that decisions that rule out emission reduction options, like natural gas, render attaining net zero significantly more difficult and expensive.

“We can’t let politics and ideology get in the way of sensible, evidence-based climate and energy policy,” she concluded.