Australian news, and some related international items

Government to rewrite climate bill to win over Greens

The Age, By Mike Foley, July 25, 2022 , The Albanese government is promising to rewrite its signature climate reforms to secure support from the Greens including a change to make clear its target of 43 per cent emissions reduction by 2030 is a minimum that could be upgraded over time.

Labor’s concession on the eve of the first parliamentary session is a crucial bargaining play as the new government seeks support for its first major bill.

While the government previously stated that its 43 per cent target would not put a limit on its climate action, Greens leader Adam Bandt is concerned the original draft did not spell that out and could have acted as a cap on emissions’ reduction.

Labor has agreed to make clear in the bill that 43 per cent is a minimum only, but has stopped short of some of the Greens’ biggest demands, such as phasing out coal and gas exports, and it remains to be seen if this rewrite of the bill is enough to lure the minor party across the line.

Bandt told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald the changes would be a starting point for negotiations.

“The Greens are pleased the government has listened to some of our concerns about the bill, and we are continuing negotiations about remaining issues, including the opening of new coal and gas mines,” he said.

The Greens want to set a target to cut emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 and hit net zero by 2035. Bandt has called Labor’s target “weak”.

draft of the climate change bill obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age earlier this month revealed the proposed legislation was largely symbolic because it would only enshrine an emissions target and oblige the federal government to make an annual progress report to parliament.

Responding to the earlier draft, Bandt had demanded the Labor government “Dutton-proof” the targets against any future government’s plans to wind them back, calling for commitments to raise the ambitions to be written into the laws……………………………..

Labor’s bill is expected to come before the lower house on Wednesday where Labor has enough votes to pass it on its own. The bill is set to reach the Senate by September and because the Coalition has vowed to vote against the draft laws, Labor will need all 12 votes from the Greens plus one crossbencher, which will most likely come from ACT independent David Pocock who is open to Labor’s proposal.

Another change proposed by Labor would also insert the new emissions target into the objectives and functions of key agencies such as CSIRO, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Infrastructure Australia and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Even if the Greens and the Coalition decide to block Labor’s bill, Labor can deliver its key measures to cut carbon emissions without new legislation by increasing renewable energy projects and capping industrial pollution.

The bill does not contain specific mechanisms to ratchet up emissions reductions, such as the use of existing safeguards mechanism to force tougher carbon pollution caps on the 215 biggest industrial polluters in the country……………..


July 26, 2022 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics

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