Greens leader Adam Bandt has announced his party will support Labor’s climate change bill which will legislate Australia’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In an address to the National Press Club on Wednesday, Mr Bandt confirmed that the Greens would vote in favour of the bill following negotiations with Labor, but said that the government’s action was like “bringing a bucket of water to a house fire”.
“Tomorrow, I will be joined by our Greens MPs in the House of Representatives in voting for the climate change bill, and when the bill comes before the Senate, we will vote for it there as well,” he stated.
“To be crystal clear, the Greens have improved a weak climate bill, but the fight to stop Labor opening new coal and gas mines continues and, in this parliament, the only obstacle to greater climate ambition is Labor.”
Building on promises made by Labor before the election, the Climate Change Bill 2022 is set to enshrine the country’s nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement of a 43 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 and a commitment to reaching net zero by 2050.
“While the government has been unwilling to adopt science-based targets and place a moratorium on new coal and gas, we have been able to secure improvements to the bill, ensuring that the target can be ratcheted up over time, and that it’s now ‘Dutton-proofed’ with a genuine floor, which means the target cannot go backwards,” said Mr Bandt.
“Changes have also been made to put in place greater transparency, accountability and strengthened requirements on the Climate Change Authority, and government agencies such as Export Finance Australia that in the past have funded coal and gas projects will for the first time be forced to take climate targets into account.”
Mr Bandt suggested that just one of the 114 new coal and gas projects in the government’s investment pipeline could wipe out the progress on tackling climate change so far.
The Greens expect that a Senate inquiry into the climate bill will conclude that the emissions reduction targets cannot be met if new coal and gas projects are approved, forcing the government to rethink its approach.
“Our house is on fire and it’s time we acted like it. The only way to keep people safe, manage the economy and reduce the cost of living is to take action on the climate crisis,” Mr Bandt argued.
“We cannot afford to keep approving coal and gas. It is not only a more expensive form of power, it is deadly. It’s blowing the budget and it’s costing the Earth.”
Following Mr Bandt's speech, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that he was "very confident" that the bill would pass in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The Coalition has indicated that it will vote against the bill.
Jon Bragg is a journalist for Momentum Media's Investor Daily, nestegg and ifa. He enjoys writing about a wide variety of financial topics and issues and exploring the many implications they have on all aspects of life.