Coalition quietly adds fossil fuel industry leaders to emissions reduction panel

A photograph of the Santos Moomba gas plant in South Australia.
23 January 2021

The Morrison government has quietly appointed fossil fuel industry leaders and a controversial economist to a committee responsible for ensuring the integrity of projects that get climate funding.

Critics have raised concerns about whether some appointees to the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee may have a potential conflict of interest that could leave its decisions open to legal challenge.

The overhaul of the committee follows the government indicating it plans to expand the industries that can access its $2.5bn emissions reduction fund, including opening it to carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects by oil and gas companies.

The new chair of the committee is David Byers, a former senior executive at the Minerals Council of Australia, BHP and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, who now runs CO2CRC, an industry and government-funded CCS research body. He replaced Prof Andrew Macintosh, an environmental law and policy scholar at the Australian National University, who resigned last year.

Read the full article on The Guardian website, featuring commentary by Prof Frank Jotzo