We have expanded the list of climate policies we assess company engagement with to incorporate land-use related policy, referring to legislative or regulatory measures to enhance and protect ecosystems and land where carbon is being stored. Assessments under this category are currently underweighted in terms of their contribution to the overall company metrics. This weighting will be progressively increased over the next 6 months.
We adjusted the terminology used to describe the queries running down the left-hand side of our scoring matrix and added additional explanatory text to the info-boxes. This has no impact on the scores and methodology. It has been done following user feedback to improve clarity.
Climate Lobbying Overview: Gas Energy Australia (GEA) has shown mixed support for climate policy in Australia, with the majority of its lobbying focused on increasing the role of natural gas in the energy mix.
Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: GEA appears to have very limited engagement with climate policy through it’s top-line communications. On its corporate website, it states that it recognizes “the need to introduce effective policies to reduce emissions” but it is unclear what temperature goals GEA supports or if it supports the Paris Agreement.
Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: GEA’S engagement with climate-related regulations appears to be mixed, with limited engagement. In the process of lobbying for increased use of natural gas in transportation, it has supported more stringent GHG emissions standards and fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. In addition, Gas Energy Australia also supported federal emissions' reduction target of 26-28% as part of the National Energy Guarantee but did not support more ambitious targets in line with the Climate Change Authority.
In 2020, GEA stated support for policies to respond to climate change but has consistently argued that policies should be technology neutral so as not to disadvantage 'low emissions' energy sources other than renewables. As such, GEA appears to have negatively lobbied on renewable energy legislation, for example, advocating in its submission to Australia’s Review of Climate Change Policies in May 2017 for expanding the remit of renewable energy schemes, such as the Renewable Energy Target, to support gaseous fuels, and it also appears to not support state -based renewable energy targets, describing them as “extremely aggressive, extremely unrealistic”. In 2021, in GEA’s comments on the Future Fuels Strategy, it advocated for gaseous vehicles to pay less tax, noting that electric vehicles currently pay no tax and claiming that electric vehicles electric or hydrogen vehicles can have a bigger carbon footprint than gas vehicles.
Positioning on Energy Transition: GEA appears not to support the transition of the energy mix. In 2021, in a GEA submission, it appeared to support the increased use of gas in the Australian energy mix and seemed to oppose policies to encourage electrification such as a ban on gas infrastructure, stating that the use of Australian gas can increase energy security. However, also in 2021, the association stated support for the implementation of a hydrogen Guarantee of Origin (GO) under Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy which would allow for hydrogen from different sources to be distinguished and certified to ensure it is clean. In 2017, evidence suggests GEA supported a long term, rather than transitional role for natural gas in the energy mix, stating in its Submission to the Independent Review of the Future Security of the National Energy Market that it is “important that gaseous fuels are part of any future energy mix”. Additionally, in 2017 it appeared to not support measures to advance the electrification of transport, opposing financial incentives such as credits for electric vehicles.