Australia is a step closer to having a binding duty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43 per cent on 2005 levels.
The government’s Climate Change Bill is expected to go through the House of Representatives on Thursday, with support from Labor, Greens, and renegade Coalition MPs like Bridget Archer.
The Bill will then be sent to committee before it goes to the Senate, where it will pass due to the support of the Greens.
Independent senator David Pocock could also support the Bill, however he is not satisfied Labor has taken strong enough action.
“I don’t think this target is high enough, but having the certainty is important,” he told ABC News.
“I’ve said all along I want to see this legislated, but I’m here to represent the people of the ACT and to ensure that I’m looking at legislation, and suggesting ways that it can be improved.
“My priority with this Bill is how do we give it integrity? How do we ensure that we’re actually going to be meeting the 43 per cent.”
Senator Pockock echoed what Greens leader Adam Bandt told the National Press Club on Wednesday, that it was somewhat redundant to keep opening new coal and gas projects while committing to driving emissions down.
Senator Pockock said he was having ongoing conversations with Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen about improvements to the bill.
Mr Bowen said he wanted to thank people from “across the parliament” for working with the government to make it a reality – save for the Liberals and Nationals.
“The Liberal party has made themselves irrelevant,” he said.
“In relation to new coal and gas, there’s environmental approvals, financing hurdles to get over, there’s economic hurdles … The Greens have a different position.”
Mr Bowen said he “hopes and expects” that Australia will go above its 43 per cent target, and the legislation made it clear it was a “floor, not a ceiling”.
“This legislation is sending the message and I’m delighted that business and renewable groups and climate groups have welcomed so strongly the indications this will now pass the parliament,” he said.
Senator Birmingham said he supported higher ambition, and if the 43 per cent target had required legislation he would have “voted for it in a heartbeat”.
“However, it doesn’t require legislation,” he told ABC Radio,
“Support for higher ambition in reducing emissions, and critically I support that … And Peter Dutton has been clear … that we will be taking a greater level of ambition to the next election.”
Senator Birmingham said he respected the decision of Ms Archer to cross the floor and support Labor’s Bill.
Originally published as Anthony Albanese’s climate bill to pass House of Representatives with Greens support