Clayton Utz special counsel David Hodgkinson presented an idea to create an LNG-based sectoral agreement with a number of industry players.
“An international LNG sectoral agreement could form part of an approach or as a stand-alone on the basis that natural gas offers the most immediate solution of transitioning to a lower emissions global economy,” he said.
He said based on the World Wildlife Fund endorsement of natural gas as a transition fuel source, he believed LNG would provide a way to cut greenhouse emissions in the near-term to keep global temperatures down.
He said the sectoral agreement would be a realistic way to making pledges because there were less players in the agreement and more effective enforcement measures.
Hodgkinson said an LNG sectoral agreement was backed by Woodside Petroleum, which was effectively an endorsement of the program.
As part of the same session, CEDA chief economist Nathan Taylor took the government to task for failing to provide industry with the best regulatory framework to encourage emissions cuts.
“What is compounding the difficulty of making decisions and adding further to the required rate of return on capital investor need has been the way in which policy setting has been established in mitigating climate change,” he said.
“I would generously describe the way I perceive the approach of government in terms of policy in the space as ad hoc decision-making. In potentially less sensitive environments I might describe it more directly.”
He said state government feed-in tariffs, federal government programs such as the renewable energy target and other such programs were causing ineffective policy setting.
“[The RET] has been arbitrarily set at 20% by 2020, which is also not clearly explained as to what the benefits are of that particular approach.
“So where is the rationale for 20% other than the alliteration with 2020?”