Strategies in Action


Queensland NMBI talking points


The talking points below delve into some of the implications of banning new climate-damaging projects in Queensland.

These talking points may be helpful when you are encouraging Queensland state MPs to support adoption of the No More Bad Investments (NMBI) model legislation. These talking points assume that the person you are talking with accepts that at least some action is necessary to tackle the climate emergency.

1. The Queensland government can control the types of projects it approves within Queensland regardless of federal policies. By banning new climate-damaging projects Queensland can demonstrate that such as thing is possible, making it easier for other states and territories to do the same.more...

Federal climate-related policies are far from adequate for protecting people and ecosystems from extreme climate harm. However, if enough states and territories enact No More Bad Investments (NMBI) legislation as a first step in taking climate emergency action it will normalise governments passing legislation based on restoration of a safe climate.

2. Banning NEW climate-damaging projects before they start is relatively easy compared with phasing out existing sources of carbon emissions.more...

While equally necessary, closing existing fossil fuel activity would be much harder and take longer, involving transition programs for workers and possible compensation claims from affected corporations, and requiring rapid roll-out of replacement renewable energy infrastructure.

Adopting NMBI legislation is a logical and significant first step in taking climate emergency action even though much more is required.

3. Queensland doesn’t need any new coal or gas extraction to ‘keep the lights on’. New fossil fuel projects are primarily for export.more...


From Dept of Energy, Innovation and Science (2016) (https://www.industry.gov.au/Office-of-the-Chief-Economist/Publications/Documents/aes/2016-australian-energy-statistics.pdf):

Australia’s domestic consumption of coal and gas has risen only slightly over the last 40 years. We now extract over twice as much ‘energy’ as we need.

70% of the coal we dig up is exported, and a 50% increase in gas extraction in 2014-15, mainly from fracking in Queensland, was primarily for the LNG export market.

4. It will give market certainty to assist the rapid roll-out of climate-safe alternatives if new climate-damaging projects are banned in spheres where climate-safe alternatives already exist, and timelines for future bans are set in other cases.more...

Investment in new renewable energy generation and storage will flow in if new fossil fuel projects are banned. Electric vehicles and charging stations will expand if a timeline is set for banning new fossil fuelled vehicles.

When stringent new lighting efficiency standards were adopted, in effect banning sale of incandescent lamps, they were quickly replaced by a range of compact fluorescent lamps. This soon led to the development of even more efficient LED lamps. This transition was accomplished with minimal disruption and very little opposition from the general public simply because better alternatives quickly became available as a result of the tighter efficiency standards.

5. Queensland has adopted emission reduction targets of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 and zero net emissions by 2050 in order to do its ‘fair share in the global effort to arrest damaging climate change’. Continuing to allow NEW climate-damaging projects is a bit like frantically trying to bail water out quickly enough to stop a boat sinking without doing anything to stop a person at the other end of the boat who is merrily tipping more water in.more...

In practice, climate impacts are already threatening lives and our well-being, so a more realistic target would be to reach net zero emissions absolutely as quickly as possible and to go beyond net zero emissions by drawing down the excess carbon already in the atmosphere.

It makes no sense to continue to allow new climate-damaging projects that will make achieving climate targets harder, particularly in cases where climate-safe alternatives are already available.

The following is from 15/9/2017, https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/climate/transition
The Queensland Government has made three key climate change commitments:
1. Powering Queensland with 50% renewable energy by 2030
2. Doing our fair share in the global effort to arrest damaging climate change by achieving zero net emissions by 2050
3. Demonstrating our commitment to reducing carbon pollution by setting an interim emissions reductions target of at least 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

6. Exporting fossil fuels puts us all at greater climate risk. The carbon emissions resulting from burning exported fossil fuels elsewhere are not counted as being part of Queensland’s emissions, but they increase climate risk for Queenslanders (and everyone else) regardless of where they are counted. Emissions from coal exported by Australia are almost twice as much as our entire emissions within Australia.more...

It makes a mockery of Queensland’s emission reduction targets if expansion of coal and gas exports outweighs the climate benefit of meeting those targets.

From 2016, http://m.greenpeace.org/australia/Global/australia/reports/Exporting%20climate%20change,%20killing%20the%20reef.pdf:

The global carbon accounting system that the Paris Agreement operates under counts emissions where they occur, so fossil fuel exporters like Australia can increase production with impunity, knowing the combustion emissions count elsewhere, and are not subject to their national commitments.

Australia’s domestic CO2 emissions in 2016 were 560 million tonnes. However, 1 billion tonnes of CO2 were generated offshore by Australian coal that year, nearly twice as much CO2 as it is producing domestically.

7. Coal subsidies amount to around 65% of the amount Queensland receives in royalties from coal exports, meaning Queensland royalty profit from coal exports is only about $470 million/year.more...



8. Expansion of distributed renewable energy infrastructure will create jobs. Fossil fuel companies like to stress that their projects create local direct and indirect jobs and follow-on economic activity. True! But new renewable energy projects and other climate-safe projects do the same, possibly in even greater numbers. What’s more, most renewable energy jobs would be near where people live rather than being FIFO jobs. more...

Perhaps the most relevant difference is that fossil fuel companies are asking the state government to approve new projects. All the government has to do is say yes to the proposed project and the jobs and benefits of the increased economic activity will happen. In contrast, the state government may have to put some effort into strategies to encourage new clean-tech or other climate-safe projects. However, if there were a legislated ban on new climate-damaging projects, that in itself would give market certainty and encourage new renewable energy and other safe projects.

9. NMBI legislation would stop all new climate-damaging projects once and for all. Currently, as soon as one climate-damaging project is successfully stopped as a result of community opposition based around local environmental impacts or other non-climate reasons, another similar proposal nearby or elsewhere takes its place.more...

Currently the Queensland government deals with endless submissions and appeals related to threats to groundwater, endangered species, soils, native title, etc., whenever it receives an application for a new coal or gas project. Under NMBI legislation, there would be no new fossil fuel project applications.