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Federal  Election
Climate Scorecard

References

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

What does “tackle climate change in line with the best science” mean?
The best science tells us that we need to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2035. This could be achieved through a rapid transition to 100% renewable energy, a phase out of all existing fossil fuels, a ban on new coal, oil and gas projects, and investment in the infrastructure, skills and training needed for a renewable economy [1]. 

 

Australia is one of the world’s biggest emitters of carbon. Burning and exporting coal and gas is driving the climate crisis and we’re already seeing the impacts from catastrophic bushfires to severe flooding. But Australia is one of the windiest and sunniest places in the world, with huge potential for massive renewable energy projects and investment in climate solutions [2]. 

 

It is also clear that First Nations land justice must be at the centre of any effective climate policy. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are on the frontlines of climate impacts, but are also leaders in climate justice and climate solutions. From Tishiko King, a proud Kulkalaig woman from the Island of Masig, Kulkalgal Nation of Zenadth Kes, and Campaigns Director at Seed:

 

“I do have a vision for the future where systems of injustice are torn down, and sustainable and community-led solutions can rise up to their place, that there will be effective policies of systemic change. ...Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must have that seat at the table. It must be place-based, it must be deliberative, and culturally safe. Our involvement must be sincere, and in order to achieve real First Nations justice, I think we need to be able to lead that space. This extends to respecting our sacred sites and ensuring more First Nations voices to Parliament. It means reconciliation. It means Treaty [3].”

How the parties stack up and how we’ve decided on rankings:

 

The Greens

 

Tackle climate change in line with the best science

 

What we ranked them: A 

 

Why: The Greens have a comprehensive and ambitious set of climate policies, including big investments in renewable energy, a fair but rapid transition away from fossil fuels, a Treaty process, and stronger First Nations’ cultural heritage laws [4]. Their emissions reduction targets are in line with the recommendations of top climate scientists.

100% renewable energy by 2030

What we ranked them: A

Why: The Greens are committed to reaching 100% renewable energy by 2030, through targeted initiatives such as increasing the renewable energy target (RET), increasing public investment, and changing feed-in tariffs and regulations to support a range of renewable energy generation, storage, transmission networks, efficiency, and export technologies. The Greens also back the creation of a renewables export industry, including renewables-generated liquid fuels, direct connections to neighbouring countries and the export of renewables technology [5].

Reducing emissions to net zero by 2035

What we ranked them: A

Why: The Greens have committed to reach net zero or net negative emissions by 2035 or earlier, and have the policies to back this commitment up. Alongside strong investment in renewables, the Greens have committed to immediately ban construction of new coal, oil and gas infrastructure, phase out thermal coal use and exports by 2030, and support green industries and exports that will drive a climate friendly manufacturing industry [6].

No public money for gas

What we ranked them: A

Why: The Greens are committed to ending subsidies to gas corporations and reinvesting that money into clean energy [7].

Labor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tackle climate change in line with the best science

 

What we ranked them: C

 

Why: Overall, Labor has some good building blocks of climate policy, like investment in community owned renewables, but they don’t have the ambition we need to tackle climate change [8]. To up their grade, Labor should up their emissions reduction targets, expand their renewable energy projects, create a plan for a fair transition away from fossil fuels, and strengthen cultural heritage laws to ensure Traditional Owners have free, prior and informed consent for all projects on their country .

100% renewable energy by 2030

What we ranked them: B

Why: Labor is committed to 82% renewable energy by 2030 [9]. This is close to 100%, but isn’t quite good enough. It’s great to see that they’re investing in solar banks and community owned renewables; if they could scale these projects up and invest in additional renewable capacity, they’d be getting an A.

Reducing emissions to net zero by 2035

What we ranked them: C

Why: Labor has said they’ll reduce emission by 43% by 2030, and reach net zero by 2050 [10]. Labor’s plan gets us to net zero 15 years too late, and they don’t have a clear plan to transition our energy away from fossil fuels. To avoid the worst climate impacts and do our bit as a country, Australia needs to reduce its emissions by 75% by 2030, and reach net zero by 2035.

No public money for gas

What we ranked them: D

Why: Labor hasn’t committed to any new public money for gas, but doesn't have a clear plan to phase out gas subsidies. They’re National Platform supports new gas projects and associated infrastructure to keep gas in Australian households [11]. Labor needs to commit to phasing out all gas subsidies, and invest in renewable infrastructure that gets us beyond gas.

The Liberals

Tackle climate change in line with the best science

 

What we ranked them: F

 

Why: Despite having a net zero by 2050 target, the Liberals are not on track to reach net zero and are giving millions of dollars to climate wrecking fossil fuel projects [12]. Over the long term, the Liberals have committed $55.3 billion to subsidising gas and oil extraction, coal-fired power, and coal railways, and other fossil fuel associated projects [13]. Projections show that these projects will see emissions rise, rather than fall, under a Liberal government in the coming years.

100% renewable energy by 2030

What we ranked them: D

Why: The Liberals have some limited investment in renewables projects, such as funding for critical minerals involved in renewables production, and microgrids for regional communities [14]. However, their most recent budget outlines a 35% drop in climate spending over the coming years, which is likely to impact investor confidence in Australian renewable energy projects [15].

Reducing emissions to net zero by 2035

What we ranked them: D

 

Why: The Liberals are committed to a 26-28% emissions reduction by 2030, and net zero by 2050 [16]. However, their targets are too late and they do not include a plan for transitioning away from fossil fuels [17]. The Liberals net zero plan relies heavily on unproven technology like carbon capture and storage and as yet to be developed technology [18].

No public money for gas

What we ranked them: F

 

Why: The Liberals have poured millions in public money to gas projects over recent years, including to projects that have no free, prior and informed consent from Traditional Owners [19]. The Liberals have committed $55.3 billion to subsidising gas and oil extraction, coal-fired power, and coal railways, and other fossil fuel associated projects [20].

United Australia Party

 

 

Tackle climate change in line with the best science

 

What we ranked them: F

 

Why: The UAP has no clear policies on climate change [21]. Party Leader, Clive Palmer also has a stake in major coal mines under Waratah Coal. Waratah Coal is pushing for a coal mine in the Galilee Basin which has been challenged in court by young people and First Nations leaders on its climate and human rights impacts [22].

100% renewable energy by 2030

What we ranked them: F

Why: The UAP has no policies to support increased renewable energy, improve our electricity grid, or otherwise shift Australia beyond fossil fuels [23]. Their only energy policies focus on supporting nuclear energy: a non-renewable, slow and expensive to build energy source [24].

Reducing emissions to net zero by 2035

What we ranked them: F

Why: The UAP does not have a target date for Australia to reach net zero emissions [25]. Party leader Clive Palmer wants to see continued development of the Queensland coal industry [26].

No public money for gas

What we ranked them: F

Why: The UAP has no policies on whether to give public money to gas corporations but supports the ongoing expansion of the fossil fuel industry [27], but supports the ongoing expansion of the fossil fuel industry and party Leader Craig Kelly has actively encouraged people living in Australia to burn as much fossil fuels as possible [28, 29]

North Sydney: Kylea Tink (Independent) 

 

Tackle climate change in line with the best science

What we ranked Tink: B

Why: Tink Tink supports ‘urgent climate action led by facts, not politics’ [30]. This is a great start. However, Tink’s policies don’t align with the ambition of the climate council [31] or the IPCC, they need to go further.

​100% Renewable Energy by 2030

What we ranked Tink: B

Why: Tink supports Zali Steggall’s climate bill which is committed to 80% renewable energy by 2030 [32]. This is close to 100%, but isn’t quite good enough. It’s great to see that Zali’s bill emphasises the need for rapid electrification rather than the so-called ‘gas fired recovery’; if she supported scaling up and investing in additional renewable capacity, they’d be getting an A.

 

Reducing emissions to net zero by 2035

​What we ranked Tink: B

​Why: Tink’s policy is to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030, and reach net zero by 2040 [33]. This plan gets us to net zero 5 years too late. To avoid the worst climate impacts and do our bit as a country, Australia needs to reduce its emissions by 75% by 2030, and reach net zero by 2035.

 

No public money for gas

What we ranked Tink: B

Why: Tink’s policy commits to ‘the gradual and planned removal of subsidies for coal and gas, with no new coal and gas extraction projects’ [34]. This is a great start. We need more detail about how ‘gradual’ the withdrawal of subsidies is and whether all forms of public money would be withdrawn from the gas industry to get to an A.

Curtin: Kate Chaney (Independent)

Tackle climate change in line with the best science

What we ranked Chaney: B

 

Why: Chaney’s website cites IPCC warnings and states “We need to listen to the science and experts, and act now.” [35] - however her policy falls short of the best score on the next three areas we scored her on (100% renewable energy by 2030, reducing emissions to net zero by 2035 and no public funding for gas), so is lacking the ambition needed to tackle climate change in line with the best science. 

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​100% renewable energy by 2030

What we ranked Chaney: B

Why: 

Chaney’s website states “We have everything needed to be a renewable energy powerhouse” [37] and she supports Zali Steggall’s climate bill which is committed to 80% renewable energy by 2030 [38]. This is close to 100%, but isn’t quite good enough. It’s great to see that Zali’s bill emphasises the need for rapid electrification rather than the so-called ‘gas fired recovery’; if Chaney supported scaling up and investing in additional renewable capacity to 100%, she’d be getting an A.

Reducing emissions to net zero by 2035

What we ranked Chaney: B

Why: Chaney is committed to “at least a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030” [38], and passage of Zali Steggall’s Climate Change Bills, which includes a “target of 60% emissions reduction on 2005 levels by 2030” [39]. Both of these targets fall short of an emissions reduction of net zero by 2035. It’s great to see this ambition for a reduction in emissions by 2030, and whilst it’s more ambitious than Labor’s commitment to reduce emissions by 43% by 2030, we need to see a reduction to net-zero emissions to score an A here. 

Chaney’s only indication of a policy target year for reaching net-zero emissions is her website stating she will support and pursue passage of Zali Steggall’s Climate Change Bills [40], which states a commitment to “Positive duties on the Minister to ensure adaptation plan goals, Net Zero by 2050 and emissions budgets are met” [41]. 2050 is too late for net-zero emissions to and not in line with the best science. 

No public money for gas

What we ranked Chaney: B


Why: Chaney states she will support and pursue “Phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks (which total $11.6 billion this year), and shifting this investment to the renewables sector” [42]. This is a great start, given this is equivalent to giving over $22k of a minute in taxpayer money to the fossil fuel industry [43]. However we need more detail and a timeframe for this phasing out. More information about whether all forms of public money would be withdrawn from the gas industry and more urgency of this the withdrawal of subsidies would be needed to get to an A.

Mackellar: Dr Sophie Scamps (Independent)

Tackle climate change in line with the best science

What we ranked Dr. Scamps: B

 

Why: Dr. Scamps’ website cites IPCC warnings and states “If we fail to act, the science could not be clearer.” [44] - however her policy falls short of the best score on the next two areas we scored her on (100% renewable energy by 2030 and Reducing emissions to net zero by 2035 and no public money for gas), so lacks the ambition needed to tackle climate change in line with the best science. To score A in this area, Dr. Scamps’ policy must be to reduce emissions to net zero by 2035, shift to 100% renewables by 2030 and stop all public money for gas and fossil fuels. 

​100% renewable energy by 2030

What we ranked Dr. Scamps: B

Why: Whilst Dr. Scamps’ policy of 80-94% renewable energy by 2030 is really close [45], it’s not quite 100% and therefore scores a B. To get an ‘A’, the policy would need to increase to 100% renewable energy by 2030.
 

Reducing emissions to net zero by 2035

What we ranked Dr. Scamps: B

Why: Dr. Scamps is committed to “at least a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030” [46], and passage of Zali Steggall’s Climate Change Bills, which includes a “target of 60% emissions reduction on 2005 levels by 2030” [47]. Both of these targets fall short of an emissions reduction of net zero by 2035. It’s great to see this ambition for a reduction in emissions by 2030, and whilst it’s more ambitious than Labor’s commitment to reduce emissions by 43% by 2030, we need to see a reduction to net-zero emissions to score an A here. 

No public money for gas

What we ranked Dr. Scamps: B

 

Why: Dr. Scamps’ policy is to "Ensure taxpayer money is not wasted on uneconomic gas plants or extending the life of uneconomic coal-fired power stations"  [48]. Whilst this doesn’t entirely rule out all public money for gas, it is a strong indication that Dr. Scamps believes public money should not be wasted on fossil fuels. In order to get an ‘A’ for this, Dr. Scamps would need to indicate that this misusage of public funds would be extended to all gas projects (and ideally all fossil fuel projects).

Boothby: Jo Dyer (Independent)

Tackle climate change in line with the best science

What we ranked Dyer: C

 

Why: Dyer makes no mention of climate science in her policy [49], so we scored her a B here. While her policy to stop both fossil fuel subsidies and the expansion of new fossil fuel projects is great and necessary for our best chance at a safe climate future, net zero emissions by 2050 is not in line with the best science and there is no timeline for the renewable energy commitment so she falls short of getting an B here.

​100% renewable energy by 2030

What we ranked Dyer: B

Why: Dyer has a policy commitment to “Support the wholesale electrification of the economy fueled by renewable power generation” [50] though does not make explicit mention of a target year to reach 100% renewable energy in Australia. This commitment, in addition to her supporting “the development of clean hydrogen for economic activity where direct electrification is technologically challenging or financially prohibitive” [51]  shows a sound understanding of and commitment to alternatives to fossil fuels, but falls short of being scored A without commitment to a target of 100% renewable energy. 
 

Reducing emissions to net zero by 2035

What we ranked Dyer: B

Why: To score an A here, the party or candidate must commit to reducing emissions to net zero by 2035. Dyer commits to “adopt targets of 75% reduction in emissions by 2030 and Net Zero by 2050” [52]. While we think this target is a good start, net zero by 2050 is too late and fails to address the urgent threat of the climate crisis here and now.

No public money for gas

What we ranked Dyer: B


Why: Dyer’s policy commits to “adopt the International Energy Agency recommendations of no new coal mines or mine extensions and no new gasfield exploration and drilling” [53] showing commitment to stop the expansion of fossil fuel projects. Her policy also commits to “stop payment of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry via R&D grants, tax concessions or provision of dedicated infrastructure such as in-land rail” [54], however we understand there are many other ways a federal government can give out money for fossil fuel projects, so we scored a B here. To score an A here, her policy commitment would need to completely rule out all subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, and not just three ways subsidies are paid that she opposes.

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The federal election is on May 21, so School Strike 4 Climate and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition have taken a closer look at where the parties stand on climate justice. We need all political parties to tackle the climate crisis in line with the best science, commit to 100% renewable energy by 2030 and net zero emission by 2035. Land rights and First Nations justice must be at the centre of climate justice solutions, and all political parties need a plan to phase out coal, oil and gas.

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