Government legislates emissions reduction targets

Climate Change

The Albanese governments’ landmark Climate Change Bills has officially passed the Senate, ensuring Australia’s emissions reduction target of 43 per cent and net zero emissions by 2050 will be enshrined in legislation.

The bill passed 86 votes to 50.

The Climate Change Authority has also been made responsible for advising on future goals, including the government’s 2035 emissions target.

For almost a decade, Australia stumbled from one policy to another, and the Australian economy and communities have missed out on billions of dollars in public and private clean energy investment. However, that is set to change.

This overdue legislation is going to provide the energy policy and investment certainty needed to usher in economic growth and opportunity in a decarbonising global economy.

The Bills ensure a whole-of-government approach to driving down emissions and increasing accountability through annual updates to Parliament.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, said the legislation is set to place Australia on a credible and structured path toward net zero.

“The passage of the Climate Change legislation sends a message to the world that Australia is serious about driving down emissions, and serious about reaping the economic opportunities from affordable renewable energy,” Bowen said.

“Legislating these targets gives certainty to investors and participants in the energy market and will help stabilise our energy system.

“It also strengthens transparency and accountability through the annual climate change statement and will ensure public debate informs government decisions.”

The legislation brings together businesses across a variety of industries together, along with unions, farmers, communities and conservation groups all of whom have asked the Parliament to officially put the nation on the path toward net-zero emissions.

The Business Council of Australia (BCA) said that through the legislation, Prime Minister Albanese and Minister Bowen has brought Australia a step closer to ending the climate wars that have put a handbrake on progress and become a strong economic barrier.

“We welcome this legislation and the adoption of key elements of the Business Council’s plan to reach net zero emissions,” said BCA.

The Australian Hydrogen Council (AHC) also welcomed the passage of the Climate Change Bill 2022.

Hydrogen has an important role to play in helping Australia reduce emissions and we hope this new target will further accelerate the industry’s development,” said the AHC.

The Albanese government has additionally proposed requiring the nation’s highest polluters to shrink emissions by up to 6 per cent per year under the strengthened centrepiece of its commitment to reduce emissions by 43 per cent this decade.

A technical and design paper on the setting of baselines, use of offsets and how to tailor treatment for emissions-intensive and trade-exposed businesses is open for consultation until the end of the month.

The government is set to release a more detailed design proposal for the safeguard mechanism for feedback later this year.

The reforms are slated to take effect from July next year.

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