Australia’s Climate Change Bill 2022 was approved by the Senate on Thursday, passing the final step to pass the legislation, and enshrining the country’s emissions reduction targets into law.

Originally introduced in July by Australia’s new government under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the new law includes targets for the country to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 43% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels, and to achieve net zero by 2050.

Following the bill’s passage, Chris Bowen, Australia’s Minister for Climate Change and Energy, said:

“The passage of the Climate Change legislation sends a message to the world that Australia is serious about driving down emissions, and serious about reaping the economic opportunities from affordable renewable energy.”

Ramping and formalizing Australia’s climate commitments had been one of the government’s key election promises leading up to the May 2022 election. The prior government under Prime Minister Scott Morrison had introduced a 2050 net zero target, but chose not to utilize legislation or taxes to achieve the goals, and did not raise the country’s interim 2030 goal of a 26-28% emissions reduction.

Sustainability-focused investor groups had supported the bill, highlighting the billions in investment that would be unlocked in climate solutions by enshrining the country’s climate targets into law.

Bowen said:

“It’s the certainty that business and investors have been asking for, so they can invest in renewable energy, and storage and in transmission.”

In addition to the emissions reduction targets, the new law requires the government to table an annual climate change statement on the country’s progress towards the goals, empowers the government’s independent Climate Change Authority to advise the government on future greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, and requires government agencies and departments including the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Infrastructure Australia to embed the targets in their objectives.

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