350 Australia is tracking the fossil fuel lobby and its attempts to use the Covid-19 health crisis to its advantage. There are now 59 instances of the fossil fuel lobby calling for policy changes to benefit their interests. Below is a weekly update on developments in the area.
Updates for 20 – 26 June:
- Nev Power, chair of the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC), has failed to provide answers to questions on notice which we due by Monday, June 22nd. The answers will appear here once provided to the Senate Committee.
- The Senate Select Committee into Covid-19 heard from business leaders on Wednesday, including Innes Willox, CEO of the Australian Industry Group and a member of the Manufacturing Working Group (MWG). Mr Willox confirmed that the MWG met for the last time “probably three weeks ago” and that its final report, which is different to the leaked draft interim report, is with the Government. The full transcript is available here.
- The Minerals Council released their “climate action plan” on Monday. The document has no timeframes, no commitments and no changes to their existing position. Coverage in the Guardian, ABC, FT, SMH and AFR. Not even Matt Canavan is happy.
- The President of the Business Council of Australia appeared before the Senate Committee on June 24th and stated “There is a role for gas to play, but it is a role that will diminish through that time period [to 2050].”
- Nev Power appears to be distancing himself from the Manufacturing Working Group’s draft report and says “cheap gas is achievable as a stretch goal”, in the Australian.
- Federal Labor announced they support taxpayer investment in carbon capture and storage, despite The Australia Institute finding that $1.3 billion has been spent on it since 2003, with no large scale projects to show for it. Labor also announced they are willing to work with the Coalition on climate and energy policy, covered here, and here.
- The University of Technology Sydney estimates that 11,000 renewable energy jobs are expected to be lost over the next two years under current government policies, which is the equivalent of the entire coal-fired power station and thermal coal mining workforce.
- ExxonMobil says that putting a $4 a gigajoule target on gas prices is “dangerous”. Meanwhile, Shell enters the debate about cheap gas, saying that Nev Power and Andrew Liveris’ dream of $4 a gigajoule is unrealistic.
- Incitec Pivot, Australia’s largest user of gas, says that more gas supply will not reduce prices, stating “In the last decade gas production on the east coast has tripled, and at the same time prices have tripled.”.
- ACIL Allen found that the Santos’ Narrabri gas project would have a negative impact on manufacturing jobs in the local area and in NSW as a whole.
- New Hope is under investigation for its New Acland Coal Mine for potential breach of mining approvals.
- Judith Brett’s Quarterly Essay called “Coal Curse” is available now. “The mining industry’s campaign against land rights and native title gave it the capacity to mount public relations and advertising campaigns and the confidence that it could win; and it created a network of influential right-wing warriors primed to defend Australia’s existing distribution of power and resources. When climate change began seriously to threaten fossil-fuel miners at the end of last century, they knew what to do.”
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