In a move that clearly differentiates it from the previous one, the government of Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has tabled a bill to combat climate change, which, among other things, improves the country’s international image, according to political commentators.
The bill envisages a 43% reduction in polluting gases from 2005 levels by 2030. The second goal is zero emissions by 2050. The proposal passed the House of Representatives and is reliably estimated to be upvoted by the Senate after consent offered by the Greens and some independent senators.
The bill emphasizes that the 2030 target is a baseline, not a “ceiling,” meaning it sets a minimum for greenhouse gas cuts, but legally there would be no barrier to greater reductions. It also instructs the competent ministry to submit an annual report to the Parliament on the progress regarding the achievement of the objectives.
Lignite, fossil fuels, coal?
Analysts, who are not necessarily critical of the bill’s provisions, say it does not include a mechanism or funding to cut emissions from electricity, industry, transportation, agricultural production and other sectors of the economy. In other words, they emphasize that although Labor is moving better and faster than its predecessors, however, the details of its policy and program have not been fully clarified.
Furthermore, the question remains unanswered as to what the government will do with new fossil fuel development projects and other lignite and coal mining units, which will de facto contribute to an increase in polluting gases. The government states that for all this there will be further discussion and consultation in September, when the bill will also be put to the Senate’s discretion.
Among the highest CO2 emissions
Australia is considered one of the highest per capita carbon dioxide emitting countries in the world. The new government’s targets bring it more in line with the commitments of other developed economies under the Paris Climate Agreement.
Canada, for example, aims to reduce emissions to 40% by 2030 and the United States to 52% based on 2005 levels. It should be noted that the aforementioned is the first legislative effort to address this in the last ten years or so in Australia.
In 2013 the Conservatives, under then Prime Minister Tony Abbott, shortly after their election, had overturned a climate bill previously passed by Labor in the coalition government with the Greens. From then until last May, when they lost power, they verbally talked about fighting climate change, but never moved forward with the adoption of a law.
Themis Kallos, Sydney
Source: Deutsche Welle