27 February, 2023

Emissions as usual: implications for the Safeguard Mechanism of LNG and coal mine projects


Thomas Houlie, Anna Chapman, Ryan Wilson, Bill Hare

An autonomous excavator prepares trenches for a pipeline installation in Queensland, Australia.

As part of its efforts to meet its 2030 emissions reduction target, the Australian government is reforming the Safeguard Mechanism, one of its main tools for aligning business operations with the country’s climate commitments.

Facilities covered by the Safeguard Mechanism (SGM) accounted for about 27% of Australia’s emissions in 2021. Importantly, these include the production of coal and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), accounting for around half of total SGM emissions, and both of which are set to ramp up. In this report, we calculate the abatement gap they will create for Australia.

Achieving reductions in this area is an important part of the Albanese government’s policy framework for meeting Australia’s emissions reduction target of 43% below 2005 levels by 2030.

In this report, we examine the implications of committed and proposed developments in the LNG and coal mining sectors for reform of the Safeguard Mechanism.