The climate change bill of the federal government in Australia to enforce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions goal of 43pc by the end of this decade passed the lower house. Australia is among the biggest exporters of liquified natural gas in the world, and the second largest exporter of thermal coal. Over one third of the GHG emissions in the country are caused by energy generation.
The legislation received support from the Greens party, a few independent MPs and one member of the conservative opposition.
The Labor party introduced the legislation into the house of representatives last week and the bill was voted on Aug. 4. Out of 151 seats in the lower chamber, 89 MPs voted “for” and 55 voted “against.” With the new legislation, Australia’s target to decrease emissions goes from 26-28pc to 43 pc.
“Today represents the opportunity for the parliament to stop arguing about whether to reduce emissions and start working together on how to reduce emissions,” Australian MP Anthony Albanese said.
The bill passed after several amendments that were proposed by independent parliament members. Among those was changing 43pc to be the floor, and not the ceiling target. The Greens’ – which are the third largest party and have 12 senators in the upper house – were aiming at a 75pc cut by 2030. Yet, they are ready to support the bill to avoid further climate action delays.
In the house of representatives, the Greens have four members of parliament, which are all in favor of the climate legislation. The Labor party has a majority with 77 MPs. However, Labor only has 26 seats out of the 76-seat upper chamber in the senate, while the opposition party Liberal-National coalition has 36. Thus, the Labor party needs support from Greens’ and independent senators to achieve the 39 votes required to pass a bill.
In addition to the 12 Greens, David Pocock is the independent senator who supports GHG emissions reduction policies.
The climate legislation will most likely be debated in the upper chamber on Sept. 5 before it passes the senate.