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: 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, and has opposed key climate-related regulations.
Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: In its Climate Change Policy, published June 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 negatively engaged on specific climate-related regulations. In a September 2022 consultation response to the Australian federal government, SACOME appeared to oppose reforms to the Safeguard Mechanism. Among other points, SACOME advocated for delayed policy implementation, argued for ‘headroom’ to be retained within the policy, advocated for Safeguard credits to be fungible with Australian carbon credits, and also appeared unsupportive of declining baselines.The association also appeared to support the weakening of domestic climate ambition by advocating for the “unrestricted” use of international carbon credits as a way for Australian industries to abate their emissions in its 2021 Climate Change Policy. In a submission from April 2020, SACOME opposed the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions requirements in the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
Positioning on Energy Transition: SACOME does not appear to fully support a rapid transition of the energy mix. In a February 2022 White Paper, SACOME stated that the energy transition should not mean the “abandonment of energy sources”, including gas and oil. SACOME also called for a proactive policy framework to support the continued operation of the South Australian oil and gas sector in its February 2022 State Election Priorities.
Additionally, 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. Furthermore, 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 prioritize an exit mechanism, it should favor an approach that addresses energy affordability and reliability, and which considers the impact of increased energy costs on industry”. Despite this, in June 2021 SACOME appeared to support the development of renewable energy zones.
SACOME also supports the integration of nuclear power and hydrogen into the Australian energy mix, however its messaging on nuclear energy appears inconsistent. In a December 2021 consultation response, SACOME supported the long term contribution of nuclear energy to support the shift towards renewables, and also appeared to advocate for the role of nuclear power in the mass production of hydrogen. CEO Rebecca Knol reiterated a similar position on nuclear power in an October 2022 media release welcoming the introduction of the Environment and Other Legislation Amendment (Removing Nuclear Energy Prohibitions) Bill 2022. However, in a March 2022 opinion piece, the organization supported the integration of nuclear into the Australian energy mix alongside natural gas in addition to renewables. SACOME also indicated support for the development of green hydrogen in Australia in its February 2022 Energy Transition Roadmap, and the development of a clean hydrogen export industry in South Australia in its April 2022 Budget Submission.