The Federal Government’s Climate Change Bill 2022, which would enshrine into law an emissions reduction target of 43% passed through the House of Representatives on Thursday, with the legislation supported by the Greens, the majority of the crossbench and Liberal MP Bridget Archer. The bill passed in the lower house 89 votes to 55.
The Labor government’s proposal would enshrine in law a 43% emissions reduction target by 2030 based on 2005 levels, which underpins Labor’s policy to secure Australia’s energy transition from its reliance on fossil fuels.
It also includes increased accountability with the climate change minister to provide an annual update to parliament on the progress being made towards achieving the target. There will also be greater transparency and strengthened requirements on the Climate Change Authority, the body charged with advising on climate targets and policies.
Labor’s legislation also formalises its climate change agenda taken to the election which includes a commitment to ensure Australia’s energy grid is comprised of 82% renewables by 2030.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Thursday that legislating the emissions reduction target would provide much-needed certainty to the business community and industry around investment in renewable energy and usher in the next generation of economic growth and opportunity.
“This bill records the government’s ambition to take the country forward on climate action,” he said. “It will help open the way for new jobs, new industries, new technologies and a new era of prosperity for Australian manufacturing.”
Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen said he “hopes and expects” that Australia will go above its 43% target, and the legislation made it clear it was a “floor, not a ceiling”.
“I want to thank all members of the House of Representatives that voted in favour of the legislation and their constructive contributions in its formation,” he said. “The passing of this bill in the House of Representatives starts a new era of climate and energy certainty, one that is well overdue.
“Renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy, renewable energy is the key to reducing emissions and seizing the jobs opportunity that is the climate emergency.”
The bill will now proceed to the Senate to be debated in upcoming sitting weeks. The government needs the Greens plus one crossbencher to get any contested legislation through the Senate.
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