ICAN Policy Platform
An Emergency Based Response to Climate Change
Policy Outside of Climate Change
ICAN is a party of allied independents committed to climate action now. Beyond our binding climate policy platform ICAN candidates and future parliamentarians will pursue other policy areas as independents. Therefore, it will be important that ICAN supporters come to know their candidate’s and representative’s positions on policy areas of importance to them. While the ICAN executive and membership have no overview on the policy positions candidates or representatives pursue outside of climate change, the spirit of our constitution includes a commitment to evidence-based policies. Bringing the party into disrepute via inappropriate or extreme policy positions would constitute grounds for censure or party expulsion.
Emergency Based Climate Policy
ICAN’s climate policy platform is underpinned by the scientific findings of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) and other climate science research organisations including BOM, CSIRO, NOAA and NASA. This Science identifies climate change as an existential threat to human society and the living biosphere on which we depend. It also acknowledges that to secure our future requires major and rapid reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses and other mitigative efforts including drawdown of existing atmospheric carbon stocks within a very short period (~12 years). Failing to do this risks pushing the climate system past tipping points that send the globe into runaway climate change toward a catastrophic hothouse earth outcome.
Considering the value of what is threatened by climate change (human society and the biosphere), the scale of action required to respond to the threat and the rate at which the response must be delivered to avert disaster, the situation cannot be considered anything less than an emergency. To deal with an emergency requires emergency planning. ICAN’s policies aim to provide a response to the climate emergency and enable a viable path to be defined through the climate crisis for Australia as part of broader global efforts.
ICAN’s mission is to define the nature, quantum and delivery rate of climate action needed to avert disaster and to articulate that commitment
into a plan of action underpinned by supportive government policy. As has been identified by Bill McKibben from 350.org “winning slowly against climate change, is still losing.” A policy response against climate change is a response against physics. Physics does not care for transitional costs to industry, the value of suspended fossil fuel assets or the voting power of industrial unions. However, these issues are of major concern for the major political parties in Australia as reflected in their climate policies which fail to meet the science and address the situation as an emergency or to deliver significant change in emission rates or atmospheric carbon levels.
Unless a policy response has the capacity to alter the atmospheric physics that has our society on a trajectory for climate disaster, we remain on that trajectory. ICAN’s policy platform recognises the emergency of the situation and seeks to deliver outcomes that will avert disaster by significantly reducing global emissions and promoting draw down of atmospheric carbon stocks. If pursued as part of broader, collaborative global efforts these
outcomes and only these outcomes have the potential to change atmospheric physics to the extent that our life supporting biosphere’s trajectory toward disaster can be averted.
ICAN has developed its climate policy across seven non mutually exclusive areas. The first is concerned with the implementation of national climate emergency response planning by government. The subsequent six are considered foundational components of an emergency-based climate policy response including:
1. National Climate Emergency Response Planning
2. 100% Renewable Energy Transition
3. Managed Phase Out of the Fossil Fuel Industry
4. Natural Resource and Ecosystem Management for Carbon Sequestration
5. Investment in Science and Technology to implement Carbon Drawdown
6. Creating a Beyond Zero Emissions Society
7. Planned Adaptation for Unavoidable Climate Impacts
Each of these policy issue areas are supported by a range of specific policy commitments and initiatives.
As a party that primarily seeks to wield influence by participation on the cross bench, ICAN is not opposed to endorsing and supporting policies developed by other political parties. Where we see that such policies effectively address identified needs we will readily adopt or support them. ICAN will also seek to work with all climate committed independents and parties to form a functional ‘Climate Caucus’ to hold the next Australian Government to account on the delivery of climate policy that effectively addresses the climate emergency.
National Climate Emergency Response Planning
This policy area deals with the capacity and adequacy of the Commonwealth Government management and planning response to the climate emergency. It is also concerned with the means by which the Federal Government interacts with, assists and supports States and Territories in equivalent endeavours. Issues to be considered include the formation of dedicated agencies and organisations, budgetary commitments and funding arrangements and the potential role of emergency declarations and powers.
1.ICAN will hold the Government to account on the pursuit of National Climate policy consistent with international commitments under the Paris Agreement. These are to pursue efforts to limit the global mean temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Australia’s contribution in line with these commitments will be a target of at least 50% reduction in national emissions by 2030 and to achieve net zero emissions by no later than 2050.
2. ICAN will work with Government to reinstate government funding for an enhanced and extended independent Climate Council to provide scientific advice to Government on all issues pertaining to climate change.
3. ICAN will work with government to establish a Climate Emergency Response Commission which will have responsibility for establishing and assessing interim and longer-term legally binding targets for climate change abatement, adaptation and resilience including Renewable Energy Targets and sector emission reductions.
4. ICAN will work with government to establish a Climate Emergency Planning Implementation Authority which will be empowered to work across jurisdictions and agencies to provide oversight and key legal and financial support for the implementation of target commitments.
5. ICAN will work with all members of Government to promote the need and merit of a National climate emergency declaration and development of a Climate Emergency (Restructuring & Mobilisation) Act. This declaration and supporting Act are proposed as a legal and administrative framework to drive the restructuring of Australia’s economy and infrastructure and to mobilise resources to contribute fully to:
a. Global restoration of a safe climate
b. Prevent ecological, social and economic breakdown driven by climate change
c. Minimise the negative impacts of climate change on the Commonwealth of Australia
d. Contribute effectively to global efforts to minimise the negative impacts of climate change on the climate vulnerable
100% Renewable Energy Transition
This policy area concerns the replacement of fossil fuel energy sources with renewable energy. While stationary energy sources and the electricity generation sector are a primary focus in this section, renewable energy transition policies are also addressed in subsequent policy sections concerned with all other sectors currently dependent upon fossil fuels including land and sea transport, aviation, primary industry, mining industry and infrastructure establishment. Policies will span across areas of market mechanisms, incentives for the stimulation of investment, government subsidisation of public uptake and issues of equitability.
1. ICAN will pursue a Government commitment to a target of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 with interim targets defined for each four-year period. To achieve this target ICAN will pursue supporting policy commitments below.
2. ICAN will seek the implementation of an effective market-based price on Carbon to drive reductions in Australia’s emission profile and to fund carbon sequestration initiatives and offsets.
3. ICAN will seek to accelerate reforms and finance support to provide timely investment in Australia’s electricity transmission network crucial to the transition to a renewable energy future.
4. ICAN will support the identification and development of Australian Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) which provide opportunity for economies of scale and community benefits through targeted regional investment and employment. This will include via funding of the infrastructure for REZs and partnering with state and territory governments on planning and environmental assessments for REZs.
5. ICAN will support a Federal Government uptake target and program for home battery storage for key demographics or areas of the network to complement state government initiatives.
6. ICAN will seek Federal Government support for the development of large and medium scale energy storage subject to independent assessment potentially including the Snowy 2.0 pumped storage project, Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation project and pumped seawater hydro sites identified by CSIRO.
7. ICAN will seek to maintain the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) support for Rooftop solar and storage as one few direct ways that households and businesses can reduce their power bills and to develop and expand localised renewable energy generation and community and public ownership of energy production and storage while providing systemwide benefits by lowering demand at peak periods and building capacity
8. Mandate solar power in all suitable new homes ICAN will support a 2020 target for all new homes to be solar powered and battery storage ready. This will be achieved by Federal Government working with state and territory governments to reform building codes, planning regimes and existing or new government programs relating to new housing. It will also be supported by tax concessions for developers and
landlords having eligibility criteria tied to energy efficiency and affordability, including the installation of solar panels and energy storage systems.
9. ICAN will seek increased Federal Government financial support to extend the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to continue to play an essential role provide ongoing innovation in finance, technology and integration and to provide greater focus on innovation in batteries, smart grid technology and hydrogen solutions.
10. Support skills development to meet the demand of a growing clean energy industry. ICAN will support Federal Government playing an active role with the clean energy industry to identify the skills needs of the future, and support new initiatives, training and apprenticeships to ensure that Australian workers can fill the skilled jobs being created by the booming renewable energy industry.
11. Support the establishment of a battery manufacturing and recycling industry. ICAN will pursue Federal Government support for the establishment of a lithium-ion battery manufacturing and recycling industry in order to take advantage of Australia’s strong lithium resources and demand for battery technology. This will create new economic opportunities, reduce future landfill and waste from battery systems, and encourage investment in downstream value-adding for nickel, lithium and other key battery components.
12. Develop a single national electrical safety body. ICAN will pursue Federal government leadership in developing a national approach to regulating electrical safety to improve safety for consumers, reduce costs and relieve the administrative burden on the electrical industry.
Managed Phase Out of the Fossil Fuel Industry
This policy area concerns mechanisms to discourage and prevent new fossil fuel industry development or expansion and means by which a timely managed cessation of the existing fossil fuel industry can occur. It also considers policies that promote replacement industries and compensatory arrangements for workers and communities currently dependent upon the fossil fuel industry.
1. ICAN will support the introduction of Federal Legislation to prevent the issuing of any new exploration permits for fossil fuel resources (Coal, Oil, Gas)
2. ICAN will support the use of existing powers available under the Commonwealth EPBC Act to prevent the further development of new fossil fuel resources (Coal, Gas, Oil) in Australia. This will be by reference to climate change being a key threatening process to Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES), the scientific consensus regarding required comprehensive reductions in emissions within the context of a non-existent burnable carbon budget and Australia’s international commitments under the Paris Accord.
3. ICAN will work to end Government subsidies to the fossil fuel sector including funding for research and development.
4. Recognising the need for alternative and substitute sources of industrial activity to replace Australia’s export fossil fuel industry’s contributions to the economy ICAN will commit the Australian Government to the development of a clean energy export strategy. This strategy will recognise Australia’s extraordinary clean energy resources and leverage Australia’s competitive advantage in developing clean energy powered industry. This could include hydrogen exports and the utilisation of high voltage direct current undersea cables to meet the growing Asian and global energy demand. The strategy will explore the various options for clean energy export and assess barriers and solutions to unlocking this enormous long-term opportunity that could allow Australia to become a global energy superpower.
5. ICAN will pursue Government R & D investment and concessionary tax policy support to establish a major renewable energy powered Australian manufacturing sector. Leveraging Australia’s cost competitive advantages associated with our abundant renewable energy resources to establish manufacturing industries that support the decarbonisation of the Australian economy including production of power turbines, photo voltaic panels, batteries and electric vehicles.
6. ICAN will work with Government to establish a funded program for the just transition of fossil fuel industry dependent workers and communities toward the renewable energy future. This program will address skills retraining, translocation of workforces, the establishment and location of new industries and affirmative employment actions.
Natural Resource and Ecosystem Management for Carbon Sequestration
This policy area concerns means by which the atmospheric carbon sequestration role of soils, terrestrial vegetation, freshwater wetland and marine ecosystems can be promoted within Australia and globally. It concerns the management of both natural ecosystems and primary production systems. It includes policies concerned with the protection of existing natural systems, regenerative culture to re-establish or create ecosystem functions, modification of production systems and manipulation of natural or modified systems to enhance their carbon sequestration capacity. Policies also consider suitable legislative frameworks and economic incentives for the engagement of natural resource managers.
1. ICAN will seek the implementation of an effective market-based price on Carbon to provide incentives and revenue sources for investment in carbon sequestration and emissions offsets.
2. ICAN will seek the use of existing Federal EPBC legislation to End Broad Scale Clearing of Remnant Native Vegetation Ecosystems across Australia recognising the activity’s contribution to land use emissions and numerous threatening processes including climate risks to Matters of National Environmental Significance.
3. ICAN will seek Government commitment to fund a National Riparian Rehabilitation Program to deliver carbon sequestration, climate impact resilience and biodiversity dividends.
4. ICAN will work with Government and Australian primary industries to develop, fund and monitor region and sector specific commitment targets on regenerative agriculture and carbon farming.
5. ICAN will seek Government establishment of a Federal Rangeland Management Authority that will work across all Australian jurisdictions in delivering management outcomes that enhance the carbon sequestration role and achieved carbon storage of Australia’s vast rangelands
6. ICAN will work to secure Government funding for a permanent National Indigenous Ranger Program to deliver natural resource management programs that promote carbon sequestration outcomes across native title and public lands.
7. ICAN will pursue the formation of a well-funded National Reafforestation Authority that will work across jurisdictions to establish reafforestation targets underpinned by carbon sequestration, regional biodiversity, timber production and climate impact resilience objectives.
8. ICAN will seek Government funding for R & D providers lead by CSIRO Marine to develop a National Program on Blue Carbon Sequestration and also to subsidise a higher than market ‘blue carbon’ price to incentivise proof of concept projects.
9. Recognising coastal sea level inundation that is locked into the climate system ICAN will pursue Government investment in a National Managed Succession Program for Coastal Ecosystems under Sea Level Inundation to specifically develop opportunities for enhanced carbon sequestration while maintaining coastal ecosystem service delivery.
Investment in Science and Technology to Implement Carbon Drawdown
This policy areas concerns the capacity of the Australian nation to support the development of carbon drawdown technology at a scale that can contribute to a reduction in atmospheric carbon stocks. Representative (emissions) Concentration Pathways (RCPs) modelled into the future by the IPCC depend on this technology being developed to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Currently available technology is only at a prototype stage and not yet proven to have a scalable capacity. Successful development of this technology at scale could be crucial for helping to avert some of the most catastrophic risks associated with current emission trajectories and associated increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
1. ICAN will pursue Government investment in a Centre for World Excellence in Carbon Drawdown Technology Research and Development to be located strategically within a prioritised Renewable Energy Zone(s)
2. ICAN will develop a range of incentives for private investment in Carbon Drawdown Technology for implementation by government including but not limited to tax concessions and subsidised higher than market carbon price.
Creating a Beyond Zero Emissions Society
This is perhaps one of the broadest policy areas concerned with all aspects (including the renewable energy transition policy area) of reducing the carbon footprint of contemporary society. It includes issues associated with the design of buildings and settlements, the operation of industries, construction techniques and materials, waste and recycling, public transport, agriculture and food production systems, sustainable technology, population, lifestyle and cultural choices.
1. ICAN will work toward implementation of a comprehensive Federal Government electric vehicle uptake Incentives package including consideration of but, not limited to sales targets, import tariff exemptions, tax credits, subsidised reductions in registration and stamp duty costs, government fleet purchases, manufacturing and research and development grants and tax concessions and investment in charging infrastructure.
2. Recognising the potentially significant role of hydrogen as a key component of a renewable energy future, ICAN will seek Government funding support for a National Hydrogen Industry Innovation and Adoption Program with financial incentive available for Research and Development, technology commercialisation and public and industrial adopters.
3. ICAN will seek Federal Government commitment to establish a Federal Public Transport Authority that will work with all jurisdictions to establish regional and municipal public transport strategies, standards and targets that also provide the qualifying criteria for increased Commonwealth Government funding support
4. ICAN will seek Government funding support for a Sustainable Aviation R & D and Commercialisation Program that will seek to attract international aerospace industry partners in the development of a low emissions aviation sector future.
5. ICAN will seek Government funding support for a Shipping and Maritime Sector R & D and Commercialisation Program that will seek to attract international partners in the development of a low emissions maritime industry future.
6. ICAN will seek Commonwealth support for a National future climate settlement planning and building standards framework developed under the auspices of COAG that responds to the combined needs of emissions reductions and climate resilience and adaptation.
7. ICAN will seek to establish Government funding, financial incentives and tax concessions for Low Carbon Manufacturing, Construction and Metallurgy R & D and Commercialisation Program examining opportunities for the deployment of carbon neutral technologies and replacing the direct use of fossil fuels in industrial processes.
8. ICAN will seek an enhanced National system of Energy Efficiency Targets and stringent Minimum Energy Performance Standards with a five yearly review period for products, building and infrastructure.
9. ICAN will seek introduction of a National Embedded Carbon Cost Labelling Scheme for all consumer products and services
10. ICAN will pursue the development of a National Sustainable Population Policy that remains cognisant of the economic contributions of immigration and our humanitarian commitment to refugee re-settlement while seeking to stabilise the resource demands and associated carbon footprint of Australia’s population.
11. ICAN will seek Government funding for a National Climate Emergency Education and Messaging program with key content and messaging to be provided by the independent Climate Council.
Planned Adaptation for Unavoidable Climate Impacts
This policy area recognises that despite whatever efforts are implemented to mitigate climate change impacts, many will still be realised well into the future due to ‘locked in’ impacts associated with climate system response lag time to current emissions and atmospheric carbon levels. As already being experienced in Australia and globally these impacts include extreme weather events, floods, droughts, cyclones, storms, extended and higher risk fire seasons, coastal erosion and sea level rise. To cope with an increasing frequency and/or severity of these impacts, society will need to respond with a mix of policy commitments covering everything from building and town planning standards, structural protection of high value assets, public shelters and infrastructure, emergency response services, and enhanced water, food and energy security. Some of these issues will fall more within the jurisdiction of state and local governments but policies at a Federal level will need to be delivered to facilitate and support these outcomes.
1. ICAN will seek Commonwealth Government support for the establishment of a National Emergency Response Service that Includes a dedicated contingent within the ADF, integrated response planning with all jurisdictions and nationally maintained emergency infrastructure including a Fire Fighting Aviation Fleet
2. ICAN will pursue Commonwealth Government funding support and established standards for the Development and Implementation Regional Climate Emergency Planning Strategies
3. Recognising the emerging impact of climate change on rainfall patterns and river basin flows ICAN will seek Commonwealth funding for an Independent Program of Climate Conscious Reviews of Water Allocation Planning for Environment and Consumptive Uses across the intensive land use zones of Australia including the Murray Darling Basin.
4. ICAN will seek the establishment of a dedicated Program for Enhanced food and water security within Regional Australia within the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
5. ICAN will seek Government commitments to develop a national heat wave planning and response strategy that examines both infrastructural and service provision requirements to implement protective strategies for the those within Australian communities most vulnerable to projected increases in the severity and duration of heatwaves.
6. ICAN will pursue the use of the COAG for the development of a National Strategy of Planned Coastal Protection and Retreat with an associated package of Commonwealth funding and incentives to underpin required planning, research and development.
7. ICAN will seek the establishment of a dedicated Fire Regime Monitoring and Management Promotion Unit within the Department of Environment that works across jurisdictions and ties Commonwealth funding support to State and Territory Agencies to the implementation of Proactive Fire Regime Management Strategies
and standards that serve to minimise catastrophic fire risks and serve biodiversity and carbon sequestration goals.
8. ICAN will seek Commonwealth funding for the establishment of a National Research and Development Centre for Catchment Based Floodplain Management which has a commitment to developing regional Floodplain Settlement Protection and Relocation Strategies across vulnerable regions of Australia
9. Recognising that intact natural ecosystems provide one of the best forms of resilience against climate impacts ICAN will seek Government commitment for substantial Expansion of the National Reserve System
10. Recognising the increasing mental health burden that increasing recognition of the climate emergency and unfolding climate impacts will create within the Australian community ICAN will seek Government support for the development of a National Climate Crisis Mental Health Extension Program