The New South Wales Coalition and Green Party plan to urge the Labor Party to pass a law implementing a 70% reduction target for emissions by 2035.
The New South Wales Labor is being urged to pass a law setting a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2035, as the opposition and crossbench collaborate on revisions.
The Minns administration is working quickly to approve its main climate law during the last two weeks of the year to establish goals of 50% by 2030 and net zero by 2050.
Guardian Australia has confirmed the Coalition will move to toughen Labor’s bill by amending it to include the goal of cutting emissions by 70% on 2005 levels by 30 June 2035.
The previous Coalition administration had pledged to reach this more challenging temporary goal – even though it had argued that legislation was not necessary to accomplish it.
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Environmental groups strongly condemned the Minns government for not including the 2035 target in their climate bill. In a recent statement, Prof Penny Sackett, Australia’s former chief scientist, implored the government to incorporate the target.
The bill requires either the opposition or the crossbench’s backing, along with the Greens, in order to be passed by the government. Originally scheduled for debate on Thursday in the NSW parliament, it has been postponed until next week.
The Green party previously declared their intention to reject the bill unless it was made stronger and denounced the government for neglecting the 2035 target. On Thursday, the smaller party confirmed their support for amending the bill to incorporate the target.
According to sources at Guardian Australia, members of the Liberal and National parties came to a mutual decision to advocate for a more robust temporary goal, as well as other modifications aimed at safeguarding individuals residing in rural and remote regions impacted by the shift towards renewable energy.
The proposed changes aim to ensure that the state’s agricultural commissioner and a member of the energy industry are both represented on the new Net Zero Commission.
The committee will be formed through the law and serve as an impartial advisory group to oversee the state’s advancements in meeting its targets for reducing emissions.
The government intended to form a commission consisting of 5 to 10 members, including academics and industry professionals in areas such as decarbonisation and renewable energy, along with the chief scientist.
Sue Higginson, the Green party’s representative for environmental issues, stated that her party would back the Coalition’s goal of reaching 70% by 2035. She believes that it would be illogical to regress on this target.
“She emphasized that these targets must have legal obligations attached to them in order to compel the government to take immediate action in meeting them.”
Kellie Sloane, the opposition spokesperson for the environment, stated that the government has consistently shown a lack of ambition and vision in addressing the state’s issues.
According to her, the Minns government has presented a bill related to climate change that sets lower goals compared to the Coalition’s targets. Additionally, they have reduced subsidies for electric vehicles.
“They have yet to disclose the cost for taxpayers in New South Wales to maintain operations at the Eraring [power station], which runs on coal.”
The Coalition will announce its stance on the draft amendments after a vote during their party meeting next Tuesday. Dave Layzell, a Nationals member representing the coalmining area of Upper Hunter, confirmed this decision.
In my view, this does not represent a significant shift in climate policy. Rather, it is simply a transition from regulating emissions targets to making them part of legislation.
“Our main focus is on safeguarding regional areas. That is the top priority for us.”
Penny Sharpe, the Minister for Climate Change and Energy for the Labor party, attempted to present the Coalition’s revisions as a victory for the government.
She stated that the Minns Labor government has managed to gather everyone together for discussions on a bill that will be highly influential in this parliamentary session.
According to Mark Speakman, the leader of the opposing party, the Liberals and Nationals are advocating for a comprehensive strategy to address climate change in NSW.