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A new era of climate policy: Australia's Safeguard Mechanism reforms

Australia has a fraught history when it comes to climate policy and politics. Australia briefly had a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), which was a cap-and-trade emissions scheme. However, the Liberal Party repealed the CPRS in 2014 when it won the federal election. The Liberal Party then introduced the Safeguard Mechanism in 2016, however this policy failed to significantly drive down Australia’s emissions. This led to over 10 years of Australian climate policy limbo as major political parties could not agree on a more effective emissions reductions policy. However, nearly a decade on, Australia is in the midst of the most significant and ambitious climate reforms. The keystone is the strengthening of the Safeguard Mechanism.

In their latest article, first published in the Australian Environment Review, Jo Garland and Lea Hiltenkamp unpack what the Safeguard Mechanism is, what the reforms are and what they mean for emitters, and key considerations for facility owners and operators.

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