Anthony Albanese’s new laws forcing Australia to cut carbon emissions by 43 per cent pass
Anthony Albanese’s new laws forcing Australia to cut CO2 emissions by 43 percent pass through the lower house – amid calls to FULLY phase out coal, oil and gas
New laws to raise Australia’s carbon reduction targets have hit their first hurdle after passing the lower house of the federal parliament.
Liberal MP Bridget Archer was the only opposition member to vote with the government to pass the laws by 89 votes to 55.
The Tasmanian MP said her community wanted action on climate change and it was important that she use her voice to achieve it.
The laws set a CO2 reduction target of 43 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.
The 2030 pledge is a step above the former coalition government’s non-statutory target of 26 to 28 percent, while there is bipartisan support for the 2050 target.
Independent MP Zali Steggall said the ‘next step’ of Australia’s response to climate change should be to phase out oil, coal and gas.
She and other independents told reporters in Canberra they wanted to see more cooperation with the government, but praised the approach that Labor had taken.
‘We still see old-fashioned politics in Question Time,’ said Ms Steggall.
“I don’t think it impresses many of us and it certainly doesn’t impress the Australian public.”
Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen called the bill’s adoption “a good day for Australia” and thanked the cross-benchers for working with the government.
“Renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy, renewable energy is the key to reducing emissions and seizing the job opportunity that is the climate emergency,” he told parliament on Thursday.
After consultation with the Greens, the government agreed to ensure that the emissions target could only go up in the future, with a mechanism to increase its ambition.
There will also be greater transparency and stricter requirements for the Climate Change Authority, the body charged with advising on climate goals and policies.
Several amendments proposed by independent MPs were supported by the government, including to explicitly include regional Australia in new laws.
The coalition supported independent MP Helen Haines’ amendment to ensure that the authority does not consider economic, employment and social benefits for rural and regional Australia.
The government also agreed to ensure that the bill clearly states its intent to drive climate action and is related to science.
But the government and the opposition voted against the amendments to lift the emissions reduction target to 75 percent by 2030 and net zero by 2035, proposed by the Greens and independent MP Andrew Wilkie.
The bill is under review by a Senate inquiry due to report on Aug. 31, after which it will be discussed and expected to pass with the help of the Greens and a cross-bencher from the upper house.
Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi said her party had helped improve the bill.
“We entered the process in good faith, always with the intention of improving this bill, which was very weak,” she told ABC radio.
“But let’s be clear: coal and gas will destroy this target pretty quickly. And that fight will continue.’
ACT independent Senator David Pocock said the 43 percent target set in the legislation was not high enough, but certainty was important.
Senator Pocock said he wouldn’t “stamp down” the bill until it was properly reviewed.
“My job is to work with the crossbench, to work with the government, to make sure that everything we legislate in September is with integrity,” he said.