On July 27, 2022, the Australian government tabled the Climate Change Bill 2022 in Parliament. The bill aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030 compared to 2005 and to set out a target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. As of August 4, 2022, the bill has just completed its third reading in the House of Representatives, and if it progresses normally, it will pass the House of Representatives and be read in the Senate shortly. On July 28, 2022, the Senate referred the bill to the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by August 31, 2022.
Overview of the Bill
The Bill consists of four main parts:
- Stipulation of reduction targets into law
Stipulate into law the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030 compared to 2005 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This target was communicated by Australia to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on June 16, 2022 as an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
- Assignment of positions to the Climate Change Authority
The Bill shall be operated by the Director of Climate Change. It also requires the Climate Change Authority to review/advise on Australia’s progress against the targets, and to review/advise on new targets under the Paris Agreement (including the 2035 targets). The first review/advice should be within 5 years, and the next review/advice should be after the first 10 years.
The Climate Change Authority was announced as a body for independent policy advice at the NDC in June 2022.
- Presentation of statement by the Minister for Climate Change and Energy to Parliament
In order to fulfill his/her accountability for achieving the reduction targets, within 6 months after the end of each financial year, the Minister must prepare a statement that relates to:
- The progress made during the year towards achieving Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets; and
- international developments during the year that are relevant to addressing climate change; and
- Climate change policy; and
- The effectiveness of the Commonwealth’s policies in contributing to the achievement of the targets
- Reflect reduction targets in the objectives and functions of key government agencies
Reflect Australia’s reduction targets in the objectives and functions of key government agencies, including the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), Infrastructure Australia, and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).
Relevant documents can be viewed from the following URLs:
- Press release from the Australian Ministry of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water
- Press release from the Australian Government
- Progress on the bill from the Australian Parliament
- Bill tabled at the first reading of the House of Representatives