Labor digs in on support for coal to negate damaging climate debate

“The cost of capital will be increasingly high, and other hurdles to secure finance are significant.”

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The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that the goal of holding global warming to 1.5 degrees is no longer likely to be achieved. It said that limiting global average temperature rises to 1.5 degrees would require world greenhouse gas emissions to stop rising by 2025 and to fall by 43 per cent by 2030, while methane would need to be reduced by about a third.

Bill Hare, a senior climate scientist and founder of Climate Analytics, said there was a “strong climate link” to the east coast floods that decimated Lismore in NSW.

“Coal, oil and gas were behind those massive impacts, so it is strange Albanians would keep going down that path that would feed global warming,” Hare said.

Albanese’s support for fossil fuel projects removes a potential weak point that the Coalition would exploit by highlighting risks to mining jobs and revenue resources. It also boosts Labor’s chances of holding on to crucial coal country seats in NSW’s Hunter region and leaves the party with a sniff of victory in Flynn, based around Gladstone in Queensland.

But the two main parties’ support for fossil fuels could provoke a damaging backlash. Labor risks losing voters to the anti-fossil fuel Greens party, and similarly the Coalition is facing hot competition from so-called climate independents for half a dozen blue-ribbon Liberal electorates in Sydney and Melbourne.

The Coalition has promised to reduce emissions by at least 26 per cent by 2030, based on 2005 levels of greenhouse pollution, and to hit net zero by 2050.

Climate Analytics has calculated that under Australia’s current policies, emissions will continue to rise and are consistent with global action that would cause more than 3 degrees average temperature rise.

Labor has pledged to cut emissions by 43 per cent by 2030, based on 2005 levels, and to hit net zero by 2050.

Greens Leader Adam Bandt said a moratorium on new coal and gas was key to his party’s platform.

“Liberal and Labor say they care about the climate crisis, but talk is cheap,” Bandt said. “If you open new coal mines, you’re not serious about climate. Only the Greens in balance of power can halt these projects. ”

Jacqueline Maley cuts through the noise of the federal election campaign with news, views and expert analysis. Sign up to our Australia Votes 2022 newsletter here.

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