The Australian parliament Thursday passed new legislation pledging to reduce carbon emissions by 43 percent by the year 2030 and to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The laws mark the first Australian climate change legislation in over a decade and are the first substantial steps to combat climate change from the Australian Labor Party (ALP). ALP took power in May, defeating a conservative government that pulled back many of Australia’s existing climate change measures.
The new legislation requires government agencies to take emissions targets into account when creating their budgets, infrastructure or regulations. It also requires businesses to comply with new standards for energy usage, encouraging many businesses to embrace renewable energy.
Chris Bowen, Minister for Climate Change and Energy, said to Parliament, “today is a good day for our parliament and our country, and we’re going to need many more of them.” Bowen believes the legislation will help businesses, saying, “[l]egislating these [emissions] targets gives certainty to investors and participants in the energy market and will help stabilize our energy system.” Bowen also hopes an annual climate statement to parliament will help improve accountability and transparency for the Australian people.