Climate change featured heavily during the election and now the Albanese Government is putting into place some of the promises it made. We look at the current state of play and the likely impact.
The Government’s Climate Change Bill passed the House of Representatives in early August and is now before the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee for review. But what impact does the legislation have on business and consumers in Australia?
Under the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty, Australia and 192 other parties committed to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees Celsius while pursuing efforts to limit the increase even further to 1.5 degrees. At this level, the more extreme impacts of climate change - floods, heatwaves, rising sea levels, threats to food production - can be arrested. As part of this commitment, the parties are required to communicate their emissions reduction ambitions through a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). On 16 June 2022, Australia communicated its updated NDC to the UN, confirming Australia’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and a new, increased target of 43% below 2005 levels by 2030 (a 15% increase on the previous target). The Climate Change Bill enshrines these emission targets into legislation.
The Bill itself sets an accountability framework for climate targets but does not introduce mechanisms to cut emissions.
The energy sector is at the heart of climate change producing around three-quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions. In Australia, the CSIRO says energy contributes approximately 33.6% of all emissions, with a further 20.54% from stationary energy (from manufacturing, mining, residential and commercial fuel use), transport 17.6%, and agriculture 14.6%. The future of the energy industry is also at the crux of the Government Powering Australia policy.
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