South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy

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Adelaide, Australia
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Climate Lobbying Overview: South Australia Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) has shown limited support for action on climate change. Although it has shown some positive top-line messaging on climate change, SACOME appears broadly unsupportive of a drastic transition of the energy mix.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: In its Climate Change Policy, published July 2021, SACOME has supported a target of net-zero emissions by 2050, as well as stating support for the Paris Agreement and clearly supporting the science of the IPCC. Furthermore, in a submission from August 2020 SACOME appeared to support the need for a national energy and climate policy, although in the July 2021 policy paper it qualified this by stating this policy should be market-based (with no reference to the need for other forms of policy) and that it should not affect the trade competitiveness of Australian industry.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: SACOME appears to have been negatively engaged on several specific climate-related regulations. In a submission from April 2020, SACOME opposed the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions requirements in the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Furthermore, in July 2018, it supported the implementation of the National Energy Guarantee but advocated the exemption of EITE industries and flexible compliance options that weakened the level of ambition. Although SACOME appears to support emission trading schemes, such as a cap-and-trade scheme (i.e. in a policy statement from January 2018), it has also supported in June 2021 the “unrestricted” use of international carbon credits as a way for Australian industries to abate their emissions, potentially undermining domestic action to reduce emissions.

Positioning on Energy Transition: SACOME does not appear to fully support a rapid transition of the energy mix. In a submission from February 2021, SACOME appears to have expressed strong support for Australia’s gas-fired recovery, arguing for a National Gas Infrastructure Plan (including funding for upgrading gas pipelines) to promote the exploration and development of new gas reserves. This submission also reiterated comments made in a submission from November 2020, where SACOME argued “all levels of Government should focus on funding gas exploration”. Furthermore, although in a submission to the Energy Security Board in June 2021, SACOME appeared to support a possible market intervention to prolong the operation of thermal coal generators in order to prevent increased costs resulting from their retirement, stating “if the ESB is to prioritise an exit mechanism, it should favour an approach that addresses energy affordability and reliability, and which considers the impact of increased energy costs on industry”. Despite this, in a submission from March 2019, SACOME appear to support for the transition of energy mix with support for measures to improve the integration of renewables such as battery storage and solar panel recycling schemes. Furthermore, in June 2021, SACOME appeared to support the development of renewable energy zones.