In this Australian Conservation Foundation article, PJ Jacobs (National Climate Change Campaigner) explains what this landmark bill is, which has been offically passed by the Australian Senate.
‘What is the Climate Change Bill 2022?’
The Albanese Government’s Climate Change Bill has passed the Senate and will now become law. Its target to slash climate pollution by at least 43% this decade falls far short of what the science tells us we need (75%), but it is a significant step forward that we can build from.
A landmark bill
The bill’s major focus is boosting Australia’s target to slash climate pollution this decade. While the 43% target is not ambitious enough to avoid the worst climate impacts, like more extreme floods, fires and droughts, finally it looks like our federal parliament can be a force for action, rather than inaction.
We congratulate Labor, the Greens and independents who negotiated in good faith to significantly improve the bill before it was passed in both houses:
- The 43% emissions reduction by 2030 target is set as the minimum and can be increased over time.
- The target automatically increases every five years to stay in line with Article 2 of the Paris Agreement which aims to limit global temperatures to 2°C and strive for 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
- The independent Climate Change Authority will provide the government with science-based policy advice annually.
What do you think of our new Parliament’s progress on climate action so far? Take the 4-question survey and share your views.
We also welcome the introduction of an additional bill that will oblige federal laws and agencies to take into account the legislated climate targets. This will affect the soon-to-be recalibrated safeguard mechanism, the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, Export Finance Australia and Infrastructure Australia.
What comes next?
There is still a long way to go to solve the climate crisis and end nature destruction. But here in Australia we now have more than hope. Finally, we have action.
People like you taking action over many years has led us here. Donations, emails to MPs, putting signs up in our front yards, building power deep in communities. Together we keep growing a thriving movement and winning hearts and minds.
Now our decision-makers are starting to take action with us. And while our new government’s policies so far are not enough to protect our communities, rivers, forests, wetlands and animals, we now have the momentum to call for strong action. Let’s keep it up!
If you haven’t already, join more than half a million people in the ACF community and raise your voice for climate action with so many others across the country. JOIN ACF
As the devastating floods in Pakistan and heatwaves in China show, we must reduce emissions and global heating urgently to protect our communities from increasingly severe disasters. Australia is still one of the world’s biggest exporters of climate-polluting coal and gas. Together we must push for even greater ambition this decade to protect communities and nature from climate impacts.
The UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in November presents us with a fantastic opportunity. It will bring world leaders to Egypt for critical negotiations on slashing pollution here and globally, including ending public fossil fuel finance and slashing methane pollution.
Here at home, we’ll have more opportunities to boost Australia’s climate ambition and implement solutions that make our lives better.
This includes long-overdue standards for vehicle emissions that can take pollution off our roads and help all of us to travel clean with electric cars, buses and more. As well as a tougher safeguard mechanism requiring Australia’s biggest polluters to reduce their emissions.
Our climate team will continue pushing for further improvements and may need your help in calling on decision-makers to step up for improved Australian climate policy and laws.
Want to read more? Check out ACF’s submission to the Climate Change Bill.
By PJ JACOBS
(article and photo credits –ACF)
Associate Professor Magdalena Simonis AM is the President of the AFMW (2020-) and former President of VMWS (2013 & 2017-2020). She is a full time clinician who also holds positions on several not for profit organisations, driven by her passion for bridging gaps across the health sector. She is a leading women’s health expert, keynote speaker, climate change and gender equity advocate and government advisor.
Magdalena was awarded a lifetime membership of the RACGP for her contributions which include past chair of Women in General Practice, longstanding contribution to the RACGP Expert Committee Quality Care, the RACGP eHealth Expert Committee. She is regularly invited to comment on primary care research though mainstream and medical media and contributes articles on various health issues through newsGP and other publications.
Magdalena has represented the RACGP at senate enquiries and has worked on several National Health Framework reviews. She is author of the RACGP Guide on Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery and co-reviewer of the RACGP Red Book Women’s Health Chapter, and reviewer of the RACGP White book
Both an RACGP examiner and University examiner, she undertakes general practice research and is a GP Educator with the Safer Families Centre of Research Excellence, which develops education tools to assist the primary care sector identify, respond to and manage family violence . Roles outside of RACGP include the Strategy and Policy Committee for Breast Cancer Network Australia, Board Director of the Melbourne University Teaching Health Clinics and the elected GP representative to the AMA Federal Council. In 2022. she was award the AMA (Vic) Patrick Pritzwald-Steggman Award 2022, which celebrates a doctor who has made an exceptional contribution to the wellbeing of their colleagues and the community and was listed as Women’s Agenda 2022 finalist for Emerging Leader in Health.
Magdalena has presented at the United Nations as part of the Australian Assembly and was appointed the Australian representative to the World Health Organisation, World Assembly on COVID 19, by the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA) in 2021. In 2023, A/Professor Simonis was included on the King’s COVID-19 Champion’s list and was also awarded a Member (AM) in the General Division for significant service to medicine through a range of roles and to women’s health.