The Greens Will Support Labor’s Climate Bill But Want More Done To Stop Fossil Fuels

Greens leader Adam Bandt in Parliament wearing a black suit

The Greens leader Adam Bandt has pledged his party will back Labor’s emissions legislation but reiterated the fight on new coal, oil and gas projects isn’t over.

The Greens’ support means Labor is set to legislate its 43 per cent emissions reduction target, thanks to the minor party’s support in the House of Representatives and its 12 Senate votes. Only one more vote is needed in the Senate to pass the legislation, according to The Conversation.

The announcement was made following lengthy negotiations between The Greens and Labor. Per The Guardian, Bandt was concerned an emissions reduction target of 43 per cent was too low and wanted reductions up to 75 per cent.

He also criticised Labor’s support for the Scarborough gas project in WA and the Beetaloo basin in the NT.

Bandt voiced his concerns at the National Press Club on Wednesday.

“The Greens have improved a weak climate bill and we will pass it, but the fight to stop Labor’s new coal and gas mines continues, and in this parliament, the only obstacle to stronger climate action is Labor,” he said.

“The fight begins now to get Labor to stop opening coal and gas mines.”

He said if Labor continued investing in coal, oil and gas projects, it would render the climate bill useless.

“People need to be clear eyed about the importance of this bill, and that this government is bringing a bucket of water to a house fire,” he said.

“Worse, even this smallest of steps along the road to tackling the climate emergency could be wiped out by just one of the 114 new coal and gas projects in the government’s investment pipeline.”

Bandt announced changes to the bill, including the ability for the emissions target to be “ratcheted up” over time and the fact it is “Dutton-proofed”, which means the target cannot go backwards.

Other changes included greater accountability and transparency for the Climate Change Authority and the requirement that government agencies consider climate targets before funding new projects.

But the Albanese government refused to heed The Greens’ demand to implement a safeguard mechanism — which would stop new coal, oil and gas projects — and a climate trigger in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Bandt said The Greens would continue to push for these measures and promised to “comb the entire budget for any public money, any subsidies, handouts or concessions going to fossil fuel corporations”.

Although the government doesn’t require legislation to ratify its emission reductions plan, it promised to pass the bill as one of its first acts when parliament swung back into action in July.

But what’s the point if Labor’s obsession with coal, oil and gas would make the legislation useless?