August 4, 2022. The House of Representatives has passed the Climate Change 2022 bill. After nine years of delay and denial by the Coalition government, Friends of the Earth Australia welcomes the rapid action by the Albanese government to enact it’s signature climate commitment.
The Labor government, the Greens, community independents and Liberal MP Bridget Archer all voted to support the bill. Sadly, the Coalition opted to remain on the wrong side of both the science and history and voted against the bill.
As a single nation, Australia cannot solve the climate crisis. As a global problem it requires a co-ordinated response. As a wealthy, high per capita consuming country, which exports vast volumes of fossil fuels, it is essential that nations like Australia show leadership and set meaningful targets.
The bill has been significantly improved as a result of negotiations between Labor, the Greens and the crossbench. We believe that most Australians are sick of the endless culture war waged by the Coalition and want to see parties work together to set and enact policy and legislation which is consistent with the threat posed by the climate crisis.
The amendments will provide more rigour to the system by establishing a system to review the target every five years. This was done by adding reference to Article 2 of the Paris Agreement – which aims to limit global temperatures to 2°C and strive for 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
The amendments also mean that the independent Climate Change Authority must include the Paris obligations when advising on setting new reduction targets.
Significantly, an additional bill will require federal laws and agencies to take into account the legislated climate targets. This will affect the safeguard mechanism, the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, Export Finance Australia and Infrastructure Australia.
This is a significant step forward: it signals that Australia has re-entered the global community as a responsible member rather than a blocker as the world grapples with the climate crisis. The target is now seen as a ‘floor’ rather than a ‘ceiling’. Climate science makes it abundantly clear that a 43% reduction on 2005 levels by 2030 is nowhere near enough. FoEA continues to support the call for a 75% reduction target.
It is essential that the climate bill continues to be strengthened as it is debated in the Senate, including the inclusion of stronger language to make it easier for legislated targets to be updated when Australia strengthens its targets as part of the Paris Agreement.
While acknowledging this important moment, we also note that the fight to stop new coal, oil and gas will continue around the country.
Please sign on to FoE’s email action calling on the government to set a higher target of 75% by 2030.
Whilst you are here, please make a tax deductible donation. Friends of the Earth relies on donations from people like you to keep running campaigns for social and environmental justice.