Australian Greens leader Adam Bandt announced Wednesday that his party would support the Labour government’s Climate Change Bill 2022 after extensive negotiations. The Greens have been pushing for a more comprehensive climate change approach that would include the preventing the government from opening new coal and gas projects.
The Climate Change Bill 2022, in its current form, pledges to cut carbon emissions by 43% by 2030. This would codify the emission limits agreed upon in the Paris Climate Accords into Australian law. While the Greens initially wanted to raise the 43% target, they agreed to support the bill if a clause was added to prevent the target from being cut.
Bandt shared his support for the bill, saying “tomorrow I will be joined by our Greens MPs in the house of representatives in voting for the Climate Change Bill, and when the bill comes before the senate we will vote for it there as well.” However, Bant went on to say, “to be crystal clear, the Greens have improved a weak climate bill, but the fight to stop Labour opening new coal and gas mines continues and in this parliament the only obstacle to greater climate ambition is Labour.”
Climate change minister Chris Bowen celebrated the announcement, saying “the climate wars may, or may not, be over, but they’re certainly in retreat.” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also celebrated the announcement, saying, “I give everyone who’s prepared to vote for moving forward, even though it’s not everything that they would want, credit for doing so.”
The legislation is set to pass the lower house when it comes to a vote. The next hurdle will be the Senate, where Labour will need the support of all twelve Greens and at least one senator from the opposition coalition. The opposition Liberal party coalition has sworn to oppose the bill, though some have intimated a willingness to cross the floor.