Australia's environment laws must stop new fossil fuel projects

More than 100 leading climate, environment and biodiversity experts have signed an open letter to Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek, emphasising the need for Australia's environment laws to stop new fossil fuel projects.

The world’s climate scientists, the International Energy Agency and the UN Secretary-General have made clear that if the world is to avoid more than 1.5°C of global warming there can be no approvals of new coal or gas projects or expansions.

There is no requirement in our national environment laws for the Government to reject fossil fuel projects even if their full climate impacts will cause major harm to Australian environments—our national environment laws lack a ‘climate trigger’.

Without a climate trigger, the Government’s proposed reforms will continue to protect the fossil fuel industry instead of our unique environment.

Our open letter calls on the Australian Government to deliver strong and effective laws to protect our climate, environment and biodiversity.

Add your name to the open letter >

Dear Minister Plibersek,

There is no requirement in our national environment laws for the government to reject fossil fuel projects even if their full climate impacts will cause major harm to Australian environments.

In 2005, Anthony Albanese proposed a Bill calling for a climate trigger in Australia’s national environment laws, saying:

“The glaring gap in matters of national environmental significance is climate change… It is time to act. It is time for procrastination to end.”

We agree. To be effective, Australia’s nature laws require:

1/ A ‘climate trigger’ that enables fossil fuel projects to be refused if their full climate impact, including scope 3 emissions, will cause harm to Australian wildlife and habitats like the Great Barrier Reef.

2/ A public right to appeal an environmental decision on its merits, to test whether the science and information it was based on was valid.

3/ Prohibitions on the outsourcing of decisions on national environmental issues to state and territory governments and other statutory authorities.

4/ Cumulative impact assessments to ensure that projects are not assessed in isolation, but in the context of other approvals.

Without action, the Government’s proposed reforms will continue to protect the fossil fuel industry instead of our unique environment.

950 signatures
Goal: 2,000 signatures

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