The federal government’s climate law clears the final hurdle and becomes law
Parliament passed the Federal Government‘s groundbreaking climate law and enshrined the emission reduction target of 43 percent in law.
- The bill received key Senate support from the Greens, Jacqui Lambie Network and independent Senator David Pocock.
- The government is required to provide annual reports tracking progress toward the goal and ensuring future goals go further
- A technical and design paper is now open for consultation
Climate Minister Chris Bowen described it as “a good day for Parliament and Australia”.
The bill passed by a vote of 86 to 50.
The Greens, Jacqui Lambie Network and independent Senator David Pocock offered critical support for passage of the Climate Change Bill Senate on Thursday afternoon.
The bill was then returned to the House of Commons after the government approved several amendments by independent Senator David Pocock aimed at improving transparency and accountability.
The law requires the government to report annually on its progress towards this goal.
The climate change agency has also been put in charge of advising on future targets, including the government’s 2035 emissions target.
A breakthrough after “climate wars”
Though largely symbolic, the bill marks a breakthrough in the federal legislature’s deadlock, where attempts to legislate climate action have toppled several prime ministers.
The bill was presented to Parliament on the first full day of government sittings in July.
The government then formally updated Australia’s nationally determined contribution with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, part of its commitments under the Paris Agreement.
Climate and Energy Secretary Chris Bowen said legislation on the targets is not the end of the process.
“We still have a lot to do,” he said.
“It’s a message to renewable energy investors, storage investors and transmission investors around the world that Australia is open to business with a set of laws.
“I have accepted amendments from the cross bench in both the House and Senate and added things that should be included in those reports.
“I was very happy to do this because I want it to be full and proper accounting.”
Next steps to achieve the goal
The government has also proposed requiring the country’s biggest polluters to cut emissions by up to 6 percent a year as part of the reinforced core of its commitment to reduce emissions by 43 percent this decade.
A technical and conceptual paper on baseline setting, use of offsets and tailored treatment for high-emission and trade-exposed companies is open for consultation by the end of the month.
The government will publish a more detailed draft proposal for the feedback protection mechanism later this year.
The reforms are expected to come into force from July next year.