Canberra: The Australian government is facing criticism for its decision to open up more than 46,000 square-km of the ocean for oil and gas exploration.
Madeleine King, the Minister for Resources, had recently announced that 10 areas spanning 46,758 square-km off the coasts of the Northern Territory (NT), Western Australia and Victoria have been approved for exploration, reports Xinhua news agency.
The decision has been criticized by climate-focused independent MPs who say it contradicts the Labor government’s commitment to a stronger emissions reduction target.
Earlier this month, Labor had passed a bill that would enshrine into law an emissions reduction target of 43 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 through the lower house of Parliament.
On Thursday however, Senator David Pocock said the announcement “doesn’t make sense”.
In order to pass the bill through the Senate, Labor requires Pocock’s support.
“You can’t be serious about climate action and talking up how you’re legislating 43 percent by 2030, and at the same time opening up 46,000 square km for offshore oil and gas exploration,” he was quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Thursday.
“We can’t keep going down this path, it’s a kick in the guts for the millions of Australians who are living with the impacts of climate change already, that have had their homes flooded four times in a year.
“We can’t keep going down this road,” he added.