The World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia has welcomed Australia’s new climate change legislation as a foundation to build effective climate action this decade.
The Climate Change Bill 2022, which enshrines a 43% emissions reduction target in legislation, was passed by the parliament this afternoon.
WWF-Australia’s Head of Climate and Food Security, Dr Krista Singleton-Cambage, who addressed the senate inquiry into the Bill in August, said the vote was an important step forward.
“We hope today’s vote will lay the foundation for an emissions-free future,” said Dr Singleton-Cambage.
“Australia can build upon this Bill to deliver effective climate action at pace over the coming critical decade.
“It sets the stage for Australia to take advantage of the renewable revolution in energy, transport and industry and become a renewable energy superpower.”
While welcoming the new legislation, Dr Singleton-Cambage said its 43% emissions reduction target must be “a floor and not a ceiling on ambition”.
WWF-Australia recently commissioned a report that found Australia needed to slash its emissions by 74% by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2035 to meet its obligations to help limit warming to 1.5°C.
“We urge the government to legislate a more ambitious target, in line with current science, to achieve our international commitments to protect Australia and our Pacific neighbours from the impacts of climate change,” said Dr Singleton-Cambage.
“Acting on climate this decade will create jobs and ensure Australia prospers. Failure to act will leave the people and places we love exposed to more frequent droughts, megafires, floods and coral bleaching events.”
Dr Singleton-Cambage said the government must also follow the Bill with decisive action to end fossil fuel extraction and build Australia into a renewable energy superpower.
“We can’t prevent the worst impacts of climate change unless we leave fossil fuels in the ground,” she said.
“Australia has the key ingredients to become a renewable energy export superpower. With government leadership and a national renewable exports strategy, we can produce enough clean energy to power our whole nation and export more to the world.”