Even as Greens politicians signaled that more ambitious goals are needed to win their support, the government of Australia introduced legislation to enshrine steeper targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into law.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels, compared with the previous government's goal of 26% to 28%, and to reach net zero by 2050. That would bring Australia closer in line with nations like Canada, South Korea, and Japan, though it still lags behind the action pledged by the US, the European Union and the UK.
The Climate Change Bill 2022 was one of several bills introduced by the new government Wednesday as Australia's parliament resumes for the first time since Albanese s Labor Party won a May election on a platform that included policies to reduce emissions and boost renewable energy.
It is an important bill, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen told Sky News Australia. It sets our emissions targets in law and provides investors with a framework to know Australia's open for business, for renewable energy, for transmission and for storage, to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. Australia was viewed as a global laggard in action to curb emissions after nine years of fossil fuel-supporting conservative governments. Albanese has pledged to work closely with international allies to end the country's so-called climate wars, but his government's proposals have underwhelmed some campaigners.
That disappointment may prove problematic. To pass new legislation, Albanese will need support from lawmakers who campaigned for tougher climate action, including the Australian Greens Party and the pro-climate independent David Pocock, who hold the balance of power in the Australian Senate, the country's upper house.
The prime minister, who claims to encourage consumers to use what he argues is more polluting material supplied by other producer nations, has called for a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects, which is a move rejected by the Greens.
He told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that curbing the A $104 billion $72 billion coal export sector would damage the country's economy and wouldn't lead to a reduction in global emissions. A replacement for coal from other countries that is likely to produce higher emissions because of the quality of our product. Australia's accounting of coal mine emissions has come under scrutiny, and in February the government said it was revising the method used to calculate methane pollution from open-cut mines.
Bowen described the government's target of a 43% emissions cut by 2030 as a floor, not a ceiling, and has signaled that the government may implement higher targets for 2035 and 2040. The legislation should be passed by the lower house by the end of next week before going to the more contested Senate.
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