Australia’s ‘climate wars’ could soon end with the Greens and Labor striking a deal to enshrine a 43 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030 into law.
With the climate bill now expected to pass parliament, a grinning Prime Minister Anthony Albanese couldn't hide his delight as he faced reporters on Wednesday afternoon.
Emboldened by the news, he called on the entire parliament to be “on the right side of history” and support the plan.
While the Opposition has vowed to vote against it, the prime minister argued Australians voted at the last election for tougher action on climate change, giving his government a mandate to act.
Standing next to Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen, he noted that the business community wants both certainty and cheap electricity – something renewables can provide.
“This is an opportunity to end the climate wars,” the prime minister told reporters at Parliament House.
How the agreement happened
Moments earlier on Wednesday afternoon, Greens leader Adam Bandt revealed to the National Press Club his party would back the emissions reduction bill, despite wanting it to go further.
However he remains “bitterly disappointed” the policy does not exclude new coal and gas mines.
"Labor might be holding out now, but their position is ultimately untenable, and they can't go to upcoming climate summits, vowing to open new coal and gas projects and expect to be taken seriously," he said.
What does the deal mean?
A carbon reduction target of 43 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.
Net zero emissions by 2050.
The target will only be able to go up in future.
Strengthened requirements for the Climate Change Authority.
Government agencies forced to take climate targets into account in investment decisions.
Government to consider supporting Greens plan for coal and gas worker transition authority.
Labor modelling says the plan will create 604,000 jobs by 2030.
What happens next?
Labor needs the backing of one other Senator for its climate bill to pass, and newly elected ACT Senator David Pocock has indicated he will give it his support.
Some Coalition MPs have indicated they may cross the floor to support the bill, which is opposed by the Opposition.
Once the bill has passed both houses of parliament, the Greens as well as some independents say they will continue to push for stronger climate laws.
Mr Bandt said the emissions reduction deal is just “round one”.
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