Australia takes action against climate change, targets top polluters

Australia takes action against climate change, targets top polluters

Albanese won office in the elections last May on a platform that aimed to end Australia’s reputation as an international climate laggard. The government has set more ambitious targets to cut emissions by 43% by 2030 from 2005 levels. However, the country has struggled to reduce pollution from its significant coal and gas industries, which contribute significantly to Australia’s $422 billion in resources and energy exports.

The facilities covered under the safeguard mechanism include liquefied natural gas plants, coal mines, and aluminum smelters, and they account for around a quarter of Australia’s pollution. The planned curbs would deliver approximately 205 million tons of abatement by the end of this decade.

Despite this development, Australia still has a long way to go to reach its climate targets. According to the government, emissions in the year to September 2022 were 21% below those in the 12 months to June 2005, the current baseline.

A key point of contention with the Greens was the potential for unlimited use of carbon offsets. Under the new legislation, major polluters will be required to justify their reliance on carbon credits to meet more than 30% of their emissions cuts.

A ‘big’ step

Albanese said that his party was elected into power in 2022 on a platform that promised to take significant action on climate change. He expressed his satisfaction with the passing of the new climate legislation, saying that “Today’s a big step towards repaying that faith.”

He said that the legislation put Australia on a realistic path to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and a 43% reduction in emissions by 2030.

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The legislation is a significant victory for the government, which has faced criticism in the past for its lack of action on climate change.