The Australian government said on Wednesday it was confident its greenhouse gas reduction targets would be written into law after negotiating amendments with senators outside the new government.
A bill that incorporates centre-left Labour’s electoral pledge to cut Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 43 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 is the first legislation to be introduced to parliament since the May 21 election. .
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his government had secured enough support for the bill to pass the Senate without changing the 43 per cent pledge.
“I’m very confident it will pass the House and Senate,” Albanese told reporters.
Green Party leader Adam Bant said all 12 senators from the Little Green Party, which wants to cut emissions by 75 per cent by the end of the century, have agreed to back the revised bill.
“The Greens have improved a weak climate bill and we will pass it,” Bant told the National Press Club.
“But the fight to stop Labour’s new coal and gas mines continues and in this parliament the only obstacle to stronger climate action is Labour,” Bant added.
Backed by the Greens, the bill only needs the support of one of the remaining six non-aligned senators to secure a majority in 76 seats.
Albanese did not say which senator or senators pledged support or what his administration acknowledged. But he said senators outside the government were not getting “a lot of what they wanted”.
“Our position is very clear. The House will pass some sensible amendments that match our position,” Albanese said.
Labour has a narrow majority in the House of Representatives.
Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen said the legally enforced targets would boost business confidence in investing in clean energy.
“It is now clear that our legislation will pass Parliament,” Bowen said.
The conservative coalition, which has been in power for nine years before the election, will not back away from its 2015 Paris pledge to cut emissions by 26% to 28%.
When Labour was last in power between 2007 and 2013, its climate plan was rejected by the Conservatives because it was too ambitious, while the Greens were not.
Environmentalists have criticized the Greens for rejecting a Labour bill in 2009 that would have made polluters pay for their greenhouse gas emissions through an emissions-trading scheme, as the Greens wanted to cut emissions more deeply.
Labor and the Greens agreed to legislation to impose a carbon tax on Australia’s 350 biggest polluters from 2012, but the Conservative government scrapped the tax two years later.