Australia passes landmark climate change law

Australia passes landmark climate change law


Australia on Thursday passed its first major climate change bill in more than a decade, including emissions targets and writing the climate change target into law for the first time. net zero emissions by 2050. 

The law, which is a key election promise of the new centre-left government, aims to cut emissions from this high-carbon economy by 43% compared to 2005 levels.

Presented by the Labor government as the end of a decade of Australian climate inaction, the text has won widespread support among trade unions and business circles .

Australia, one of the world's largest exporters of coal and natural gas, has been slow to adopt climate targets, although it is already feeling the effects, including more bushfires and flooding. more violent.

Although it proposes more ambitious objectives than the reduction of 26 to 28% by 2030 envisaged by the previous government, this new law has disappointed the Greens, who believe that in particular, it should ban new coal and gas projects.

“43% is not enough,” rugby star-turned-senator David Pocock told AFP.


“But it's a start…I think it's important that we legislate on an objective,” he said.

Mr. Pocock is one of the climate-aware candidates who swept to power in the last election on the promise of faster action to curb climate change.

Climate has been at the heart of the defeat of the previous Conservative coalition government in the last election.

Some 5.8 million hectares of forest went up in smoke in the fires of late 2019 and early 2020, releasing enough smoke to significantly affect the ozone hole over Antarctica.

However, fossil fuels — coal and gas in particular — remain at the heart of Australia's economy , making climate action a politically sensitive topic.

During a tense debate on Thursday, some senators went so far as to express skepticism about man-made climate change.