Parliament to Debate Climate Change Bill

Parliament to Debate Climate Change Bill
Greens leader Adam Bandt speaks during the Greens national campaign launch at Black Hops Brewery in Brisbane, Australia on May 16, 2022. (Dan Peled/Getty Images)

The Greens are set to reveal their stance on the federal government’s proposed climate change bill as MPs debate the legislation in the lower house.

The government’s bill enshrines an emissions reduction target of 43 per cent by 2030 and net zero by 2050 and will require the minister of the day to report annually to parliament on the nation’s progress.

Greens Leader Adam Bandt is expected to reveal the decision of his party room, made last night, during his address to the National Press Club on Wednesday.

Negotiations between Mr Bandt and Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen have been ongoing after the Greens voiced concerns about the bill.

Labor needs the support of all 12 Greens senators plus one crossbencher in order for the bill to pass the upper house.

While emissions reduction targets were important, it was more important to introduce supporting policies, Bowen said.

“The other thing that’s important to get investment in renewable energy and to get the targets underway is certainty and policy frameworks being legislated,” he told parliament on Tuesday.

“Not only does Australia now have a government that gets it, we have a parliament that gets it too and will provide that policy certainty and framework for investors right around the world.”

Independent MPs Helen Haines and Kate Chaney are absent from parliament this week after testing positive for COVID-19, but other crossbenchers will propose amendments in their names.

Chaney’s amendment aims to ensure the bill clearly states its intention is to actually drive climate action and is linked to science.

“The science shows a target of at least 50 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 is needed,” she said in a statement.

“But I am keen to lock in this progress and continue to work with the government to pursue the opportunities presented by this necessary shift in our economic activity.”

Haine’s amendment would ensure regional Australia benefits from action on climate change.

A meeting of Liberal and Nationals MPs and senators on Tuesday affirmed the coalition’s opposition to the bill.

The coalition plans to develop its own climate policy, including updated emissions targets beyond its existing 26-28 per cent reduction proposal, in time for the next federal election.