Climate Change Policies: How Do Australian Labor, the Coalition and the Greens Compare?

Climate Change Policies: How Do Australian Labor, the Coalition and the Greens Compare?

Last week, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) released a scorecard, assessing Australia’s three major parties, The Australian Greens, Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Liberal National Party aka the Coalition, on 50 key policies across four main areas: renewables investment, coal phase out, stopping Adani’s coal mine and protecting the natural environment. The highest possible score a party could achieve was 100.

Here’s how the parties scored:

  • Coalition scored the worst, at just four points,
  • Labor scored 56, and
  • the Greens scored highest at 99.  

So with just two weeks to go until the Australian federal election we take a quick look at the key climate change policies of these three major Australian parties to see how they compare and help you further understand the ACF’s environmental ratings.

How the Australian parties scored on climate action. Credit: ACF

The Australian Greens

It’s no secret that when it comes to ambitious policies tackling climate change, the Australian Greens are all over it. From stopping the proposed Adani coal mine to protecting the natural wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef, to being the only party opposing oil drilling in the Bight, Australians can rely on The Greens to back nature every single time.

Here’s what on their climate change agenda as the country heads to an election:

  • To phase out coal and transition Australian to 100% renewable energy, with 90% of energy to come from renewable sources by 2030
  • Phase out all new coal and fossil fuel projects and reach net zero climate pollution by 2040
  • Stop coal mining in the Galilee Basin (such as Adani’s proposed mine)
  • To place a price on carbon to make big polluters pay
  • To replace coal export jobs by creating jobs in the renewable economy
  • Create a non-profit public renewable energy retailer called ‘Power Australia’ to ensure all Australians have access to affordable clean energy
  • Fund clean and affordable public transport infrastructure to meet the demands of growing cities, reduce congestion and reliance on fossil-fuel powered vehicles
  • Fund the electric vehicle revolution by rolling out charging electric vehicle infrastructure and introduce tougher vehicle pollution legislation
  • Ban political donations from mining, property development, tobacco, alcohol and gambling companies and push for every donation over $1000 to be publicly disclosed to minimise corporate influence on government policies

“We’re ready. On May 18, we’ll give the Australian people a genuine alternative to the old parties, one that offers a positive plan for Australia that will create a better future for all of us.” Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale.

Credit: Australian Greens

The Coalition

Of the major parties, the Coalition, led by Scott Morrison, Australia’s current Prime Minister, is most criticised for its lack of direct climate change policies. Some young party members who subscribe to the party’s economic philosophy of lower taxes and minimal government intervention, are at their wits’ end with the lack of party leadership on what is seen as the greatest threat facing their generation – climate change.

Related Post: Morrison Government Approves Next Step Towards Adani Coal Mine

Here are the Coalition’s key “climate action” policies as the country heads into its next election:

  • To ensure Australia meets its global emissions target (by up to 28% below 2005 levels by 2030)
  • To create a $2 billion ‘Climate Solutions Fund’ to help farmers, small businesses and Indigenous communities reduce emissions and reduce energy costs
  • Construct ‘Snowy 2.0 Hydro scheme’ the world’s second largest hydro renewable power station (which when in operation, will provide enough power to 500,000 households)
  • Protect the Great Barrier Reef by investing over $1.2 billion to support reef protection activities which includes their existing $443.3 million partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation
  • Invest over $22 million in a new ‘Communities Environment Program’ to empower communities to protect and care for their local environment; which means that each federal electorate will receive up to $150,000 for community-led environmental projects
  • Implement a National Food Waste Strategy to cut food waste by 50% by far 2030 (currently, Australians waste $8.3 billion worth of food)
  • Work with packaging industry to ensure Australian packaging is 100% recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025

“We are on your side. If you have a go in this country, you’ll get a go. That’s what fairness in Australia means. My ambition is for an even stronger Australia — to keep our economy strong, to keep Australians safe and to keep Australians together.” Scott Morrison, leader of the Liberal Party and currently serving as Australian Prime Minister

March 2019: At a Friday climate strike, an Australian students target Australian PM Scott Morrison for his lack of action on climate change. Credit: Julian Meehan via Flickr

Australian Labor Party

The ALP, led by opposition leader Bill Shorten, is committed to tackling climate change but their plans are less progressive than those of The Greens while a vast improvement on those being put forward by the Coalition.

Here’s what’s in their “Climate Change Action Plan” in the lead up to the federal election:

  • To curb Australia’s emissions by 45% on 2005 levels by 2030
  • To reach “net zero pollution” by 2050
  • Ensure that 50% of Australia’s electricity is sourced from renewable energy by 2030
  • Implement vehicle emission standards and invest in clean transport and infrastructure through the ‘National Electric Vehicle Policy’ with a target of 50% new car sales to be electric vehicles by 2030
  • Invest $1 billion in hydrogen projects to create new jobs, startups and kickstart Australia’s renewable economy
  • Reinvigorate the ‘Carbon Farming Initiative’ to supply carbon offsets and tackle broad-scale land clearing
  • Implement a target of one million household  solar and battery systems installed by 2025 by providing a $2,000 rebate for 100,000 households on incomes of less than $180,000 per year to purchase and install battery systems and low-cost loans for households
  • Restore Australia’s climate change institutions such as the Climate Change Authority to oversee projects and ensure the country is on track to meet its climate goals and Paris Agreement obligations

“What we believe in is making sure that the economy works in the interests of working and middle-class people; when everyday Australians are getting a fair go, then this economy hums.” Bill Shorten, Leader of the Australian Labor Party and Opposition Leader

October 2017: Stop Adani protest outside Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s Moonee Ponds office. Credit: Flickr

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Feature image via Senator Richard Di Natale/Facebook.

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