Momentum grows for Steggall climate bill following US election result
9 November 2020 at 5:37 pm
More than 100 organisations have written a joint letter to MPs asking them to support the bill, which has been backed by the NFP sector
Joe Biden’s US election victory should compel Australia to take stronger action on climate change according to Zali Steggall MP, who is pushing for the federal government to implement a net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050.
Steggall is introducing a Private Member’s Bill to Parliament on Monday which aims to achieve net zero by 2050 and lower Australia’s emissions.
Alongside the net zero target, the bill would mandate a National Climate Risk Assessment and a National Adaptation Program.
An independent Climate Change Commission would also be established to advise the government.
More than 100 businesses and NGOs – including charities such as Australian Conservation Foundation, Oxfam and WWF – have written a joint letter to every MP asking them to support the bill.
This legislation is being introduced following Joe Biden’s victory in the US Presidential election.
Biden campaigned on strong climate action, including a net-zero emissions target by 2050 and a carbon-free energy sector by 2035.
Steggall said this result paved the way for Australia to commit to stronger climate action.
“The US election has shown that facts do matter and the truth about climate change matters,” Steggall said.
“Under President-elect Biden, the US will now be one of the leaders in addressing climate change.
“[Meanwhile] our emissions have not lowered for four years. Enough is enough… The time for misrepresentations and speaking points is over.”
Steggall said the bill gives the Parliament an important and timely opportunity to “end the climate wars”, and join countries such as the UK, Japan, South Korea and Germany that have all committed to net zero by 2050.
“As the rest of the world is charging forward and committing to net zero by 2050, Australia risks being left behind,” she said.
The Australian Council of Social Service has thrown its support behind the bill.
The organisation points to analysis by Deloitte that found insufficient climate action over the next 50 years will cost the Australian economy $3.4 trillion and 880,000 jobs.
Conversely, taking action to achieve net zero by 2050 would create 250,000 jobs and add $680 billion to the economy.
ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said climate change was not only damaging the environment, but also hurting people’s livelihoods, health and wellbeing.
“People on low incomes are usually hit first, hardest and longest by climate change impacts and often lack choice and control to prepare, respond and recover,” Goldie said.
“Climate change impacts not only entrench poverty but can drive people into poverty. Recovery can take years.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already indicated that Biden’s election win will not influence Australia’s climate policy.
He shut down talk of Australia supporting a 2050 net zero emissions target.
“Australia will always set its policies based on Australia’s national interests and the contributions we’re making in these areas,” Morrison said.
“[The] United States will make their decisions based on their interests and their capabilities and how their economy is structured and we’ll do the same.”