As the pressure mounts on countries and companies all over the world to slash emissions – especially in light of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report that climate change is worsening – it is also very timely to consider how best to achieve this goal without excessively hurting people and their livelihoods.

Some damage is inevitable. As coal goes increasingly out of favour, the rate of closures of coal-fired plants and mines will almost inevitably accelerate, bringing with it job losses.

The same is also true for gas, though here plant and field closures before their time is a lot less likely due to the recognition that energy storage still has a ways to go before it is capable of firming up the grid. Or supplying power when the sun isn’t shining, or the wind isn’t blowing, and that some kind of backup is still needed for exactly this kind of situation.

In Australia, the issue with gas is that domestic supplies are starting to dwindle and while the option to reserve export gas for domestic use is certainly available, concerns about the possible damage to our business credentials and lack of political will makes this unlikely at this stage.

This means developing new sources of gas would be required in order to keep up with demand.

It is also why Greens leader Adam Bandt’s demand that the Australian Federal Government veto any new coal or gas projects (more so the gas projects) in return for his party’s support for the revisions to the Safeguard Mechanism is a troubling triumph of idealism over pragmatism.

Ideals aren’t all bad, mostly

Let’s be clear, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with ideals. Reaching for the stars is what got humankind to the moon and it is how we had the various rights movements – be it for race, gender or sexuality – achieve their goals of equality.

Bandt’s demand is also very much in line with the Greens’ ideal of putting an end to coal, gas or any kind of fossil fuel and to be terribly frank, we won’t see any kind of progress on the emissions front without this kind of idealism.

However, this kind of idealism also needs to be tempered by pragmatism.

Australia’s gas shortage issues have already caused wholesale prices to climb, which have increased business costs and started to impact on households.

Not having new sources of gas will only exacerbate the situation, which will increase pressure on business and households.

Thankfully, Bandt appears open to compromising, telling ABC on Wednesday that his call to end fossil fuel development was “an offer, not an ultimatum”.

What he’s willing to compromise on is anyone’s guess, there are potential routes available that would allow the Greens to achieve some of their objectives (idealism) while ensuring that that Australians are not impacted too far beyond what they are struggling with at this stage (pragmatism).