The federal government has been accused of prioritizing vested interests after a former energy boss and the prominent gas champion were put in charge of Australia’s Climate Change Authority (CCA).
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) fears the agency is being stacked with fossil fuel lobbyists and has described Grant King’s appointment to the statutory agency as “a sorry state of affairs”.
Mr. King, who has held leadership roles at Origin Energy, the Business Council of Australia, and the Oil Company of Australia, was announced the new chair of the CCA on Friday. He is currently the chair of HSBC Australia and is on CWP renewables, wind, and solar farm company.
Susie Smith, who manages an industry-led climate change association, has also become a member.
“These new members will play a key role in ensuring the authority provides robust advice to government on emissions reduction policy,” Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said in a statement.
The new chair brought 40 years of experience in energy, finance, infrastructure, and sustainability.
“Mr. King is a thought leader who has already made a significant contribution to the development of Australia’s emissions reduction policy framework,” Mr. Taylor said.
But the announcement received a mixed reception, with independent MP Zali Steggall saying the new appointments were both “disappointing and a backward step”.
She said the government continued to “only listen to vested interests in fossil fuels”.
“At a time where our trading partners are being future focussed, the Morrison government is stuck in the past, focussed on old technology and refusing to listen to the science,” she said.
“These new appointments are completely at odds with the authority’s purpose to give independent advice on climate, science, and policy to the government.”
Meanwhile, Greenpeace Australia Pacific chief executive David Ritter said on Twitter that it was “another clear indication of vested interests blocking Australia’s response to climate change”.