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After much hesitation: Australia adopts climate law

After much hesitation: Australia adopts climate law

Status: 08/04/2022 3:13 pm

Australia has been hit particularly hard by the effects of climate change – but has yet to do anything. That’s about to change: The House of Representatives has introduced first-ever climate legislation.

Australia’s House of Representatives has passed a climate bill for the first time in the country’s history. After several amendments, the bill was passed in the capital Canberra by a vote of 89 to 55. The Labor government, which took office in May, wants to enshrine its plans in the fight against climate change – specifically to cut CO2 emissions by 43 percent by 2030 – into national law. The legislation will be tabled in the Senate, the second chamber of Parliament, in mid-September.

After the vote in parliament, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese spoke of his party’s “delivering on a key promise” to voters. “Passing this legislation sends a great message to the people of Australia – we are really doing something about climate change.” Albanese aims to reduce Australia’s carbon emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

Green approval has long been uncertain

Scott Morrison’s previous Conservative government was heavily criticized for its hesitant stance on climate policy. However, Albanese said in a recent interview with broadcaster ABC that he did not want to stop coal mining, which has been criticized by climate experts as not burdening the economy.

Until recently, it was unclear whether the Greens would support the legislation. In weeks of negotiations, the party initially pushed for a 75 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions, which Labor rejected. Greens leader Adam Bandt finally pledged his party’s support last night.

Australia is particularly affected by climate change

Band said it was important to act as soon as possible: “If we reach 2 degrees (of global warming) beyond the Great Barrier Reef and parts of Australia we will become uninhabitable.” However, the struggle against the opening of new coal and gas mines by Labor continues. Independent politicians insisted that emissions targets should be kept to a minimum and that there should be plenty of room for improvement.

Australia has felt the effects of climate change acutely in recent years: large forest and bushfires in the east of the country in 2019 caused devastation the size of Finland, and floods in February 2022 caused severe damage. Recently updated Massive coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef is known.