Fed’s ‘last resort’ lender for fossil fuels | Islander
Public funding for coal, oil and gas projects is expected to increase as the federal government increasingly acts as a lender of last resort.
The conditions are in place for taxpayer-backed financiers to fund fossil fuel projects, as more private lenders exclude it, according to a report released by research center Jubilee Australia.
“This could mean that more public money will be invested in increasingly risky fossil fuel projects that will damage the climate,” said Luke Fletcher, executive director of Jubilee Australia.
Two public project finance agencies, Export Finance Australia and Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, have provided more than $ 1 billion for fossil fuel projects.
“We call on Australia to end all public funding for fossil fuels,” Fletcher said.
A separate report from the International Energy Agency found that global demand for gas will slow.
Last month, the government opened up 80,000 km² to offshore oil and gas exploration and is supporting other gas projects, including the Narrabri project in NSW and the Scarborough project in WA.
“New gas projects that the federal government is pushing for are costly and risk becoming stranded assets,” said Tim Baxter, researcher at the Climate Council.
Major trading partners have pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, which means they need to significantly reduce their use of coal, oil and gas.
Jubilee Australia researchers fear Australia is taking risks with outdated infrastructure instead of seeking to become a renewable energy superpower.
Export Finance Australia donated 80 times more to fossil fuel projects than to renewable energy sources between July 2009 and June 2020.
Some $ 1.69 billion has been allocated to coal, oil and gas, while only $ 20 million has gone to renewable sources.
Tim Buckley of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis said that as private investors and insurers fled, the Australian government was making taxpayers pay.
He fears that federal agencies, including the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, have the potential to be empowered to subscribe to fossil fuel projects in the future.
Australia may be one of the few countries still ready to fund new fossil fuel projects, but Energy Minister Angus Taylor is also banking on new green technologies to meet the global commitments of the Australia.
The Climate Council says Australia needs to reduce its carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2035 to be successful.
Associated Australian Press