Why do we need the Climate Change Act?
The recent bushfires and the drought have shown that climate change is an immediate challenge to Australia. Many Australians feel that their way of life and future is now under threat. We urgently need plans to protect our communities and ensure our prosperity. The provisions within the Climate Change Act ensure there are equitable, transparent and science-based plans to address the impacts of climate change, prevent worsening consequences and take advantage of economic opportunities.
How will it work?
The proposed Climate Act will mandate:
- A National Climate Risk Assessment
- A National Adaptation Program
- A Net-zero target by 2050 and;
- Establish an independent Climate Change Commission
What is framework legislation?
Framework legislation is tried and proven legislation that has worked in overseas jurisdictions like the United Kingdom, France and Ireland. It has reduced emissions, helped those countries adapt to climate impacts, and advanced the climate change debate by taking the politics out of it. It works by setting a long-term pathway to net-zero emissions and helps guide decision-making to meet that target. It does this by requiring interim targets or emissions budgets which set a cap on economy-wide emissions.
By setting statutory targets, rather than just policy-based targets, it signals a greater level of commitment to emission reduction. Setting targets in legislation will also provide parliamentary scrutiny.
Framework legislation secures long-term policy and planning and ensures climate change action with changes of government. It does this by mandating the Government of the day develop and implement plans to meet those budgets and adapt to warming, which ensures that plans are not shelved and forgotten. All plans are made with overarching principles like intergenerational equity, transparency, fiscal responsibility and the best available science to ensure these plans are fair, equitable and consistent with best practice.
What will the Climate Change Act do?
The Climate Change Act will:
• Shore up Australia’s commitment to long-term climate action and reset the policy debate in Australia
• Make an immediate positive contribution to the world’s action on climate change and bolster our standing internationally
• Put Australia on a course towards a long-term goal of net-zero emissions by 2050
• Ensure action on climate change is equitable, transparent and leads to the best outcomes for all stakeholders
• Help protect Australians by ensuring there are plans to assess risks to all sectors, adapt to climate impacts and;
• Position Australia to take advantage of the opportunities that will come from climate action
Why a net zero by 2050 target?
Net-zero by 2050 is a science-based target consistent with the advice of climate science academia and the IPCC literature more broadly
• It is consistent with targets set in other developed countries around the world
• It would bring the Commonwealth into alignment with the Australian States and Territories the majority of which have net-zero targets in policy or legislation
• Built into the legislation are 5-yearly reviews which are consistent with the ‘pledge and review periods’ of the Paris Agreement and;
• The targets can be changed if there are significant developments in the science, international agreements and/or technology