Greens ramp up demands on Albanese government’s climate change bill


Greens Senator David Shoebridge says the party wants to keep “coal and gas in the ground” when it comes to negotiating Labor’s climate policy.

The Albanese Government is expected to table its climate change bill in the first week of Parliament where it will formally legislate its 43 per cent emissions reduction target.

The legislation has come under fire from the Greens, who have criticised the adequacy of the target and expressed concerns that opening new coal and gas projects could worsen the climate crisis.

“We want a bill that keeps coal and gas in the ground,” Mr Shoebridge told ABC’s Afternoon Briefing on Thursday.

Stream more news on climate change with Flash. 25+ news channels in 1 place. New to Flash? Try 1 month free. Offer ends 31 October, 2022

“That’s what our focus is on. Whatever shape this bill is as it works through parliament, we’re not here to pass a bill and feel good and have some confetti drop from the ceiling.

“We’re here to pass legislation that keeps coal and gas in the ground and keeps future generations as safe as we possibly can.

“And that will be our test for whether or not this bill is working.”

The Greens have also strongly called for the legislation to include provisions preventing new coal and gas projects.

The Party is also calling for specific language in the bill outlining the 43 per cent target is “a floor not a ceiling”, as well as a ratchet mechanism that would boost Labor’s emission target.

Last week, the Party’s leader Adam Bandt said he would be open to supporting the bill if such a declaration was made but dug in his heels on changing his party’s position.

“It doesn’t contain any provisions that will stop coal and gas and also it’s in many respects, as some commentators have said, it doesn’t actually compel the government to do anything,” Mr Bandt told ABC Insiders on Sunday.

“If the government came to us and said: ‘look, there’s a different way that we can approach this question of opening new coal and gas’ we’d be all ears. But at the moment, we’re not even at square one because the government is saying that they want to keep opening new coal and gas projects.”

The bill is expected to be introduced to the House of Representatives when Parliament sits for the first time next week.

After the bill passes the lower house, it will be sent through to the Senate Committee where it will be debated by the Upper House when parliament returns in September.

With just 26 votes on the Senate floor, the Albanese government needs to win over the Greens and the crossbench after Liberals leader Peter Dutton signalled the Coalition would oppose the bill.

The Greens and a number of Independent MPs are also calling for the legislation to be “Dutton-proofed” so it would be difficult for future governments to lower emissions targets.

It comes as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told ABC Radio he would not budge on emissions. 

“Look, we’re happy to consider any sensible amendments to improve legislation,” Mr Albanese said on Thursday.

However, when asked whether he was open to lifting the 43 per cent target, the Prime Minister replied with a firm “No”.


Source link