(Bloomberg) – Australians have voted for a new government that promises to end decades of inactivity by the world’s highest per capita emitter. Now the fight is about how quickly to make up for lost time.
“Together we can end the climate war,” Anthony Albanese, whose Labor Party will take power for the first time in nearly a decade, announced in his victory speech on Saturday. “Together we can seize the opportunity to become Australia’s renewable energy superpower.”
When the new parliament convenes in June, Albany will be under pressure to go further than promised on its climate campaign. While it is possible that Labor will win a lower-house majority in at least 76 seats, it is also likely that it will have to negotiate with the Green Party and climate-fighting independent lawmakers who want a more ambitious goal to pass a law. .
Read more: How Albanese went from public housing kid to Australia’s new prime minister
Greens and the majority of women independents, who campaigned to stop emissions and ousted some high-level conservative ministers, capitalized on the growing anger over the 2019 Bushfire, a series of devastating floods and ongoing bleaching, including a series of climate change disasters. Iconic Great Barrier Reef.
Outgoing leader Scott Morrison has often been criticized for failing to take tougher action to curb Australia’s carbon emissions. Morrison, who once famously brought coal to the Australian Parliament, agreed to a net zero goal in 2050 after lengthy negotiations with his pro-fossil fuel National Party alliance partner.
The Albanians want to end Australia’s reputation as an outsider when it comes to making renewable products such as batteries and boosting mining of green minerals like lithium. Labor is campaigning on a promise to reduce Australia’s emissions by 43% by 2030, with a goal of net zero by 2050.
Albanians are expected to push for greater adoption of electric vehicles, a promise of a nationwide network of charging stations and a reduction in taxes on environmentally friendly vehicles.
Still, climate activists say much more needs to be done for Australia to meet Albany’s goal of becoming a “renewable energy superpower.”
Labor currently has no plans to price carbon, and the reduction in emissions will be largely provided by energy efficiency, agricultural offsets and renewable growth expected. Fugitive gas emissions from coal mines and petroleum wells, a major part of Australia’s fossil fuel exports, are predicted to remain relatively stable over the next decade.
According to Lucy Mann, chief executive of Climate-Advocacy Group 350 Australia, as one of the world’s leading coal and gas exporters, Australia needs to come up with a comprehensive plan to move away from fossil fuels as soon as possible.
Labor policies “represent a major improvement over previous government policies, but need to be strengthened,” he said in a statement.
Several points of excitement have already emerged that could put Albany in a difficult position. Even if Labor gains a majority in the lower house, the Greens are on track for at least 12 seats in the country’s Senate, potentially giving them veto power over any new legislation.
Independent lawmaker Jali Staggal says he wants to see a 60% reduction in Australia’s carbon emissions by 2030, a demand echoed by many other new MPs who are not affiliated with a major party. During the campaign, Albanese said he would not back down from his 43% reduction in emissions.
Greens leader Adam Band, whose party received more than 12% of the vote in his all-time best performance, said he wanted a pledge not to build new coal mines in Australia – something that Albany also refused to acknowledge.
During the campaign, Albanese deliberately avoided using fossil fuels or coal mining, promising to end it quickly. Dan Repacholi, a Labor candidate for Hunter’s coal-mining selector, told Bloomberg that the party would keep the coal mine as long as people wanted to buy it.
Read more: A showdown over coal could determine who wins Australian election
About 114 new coal and gas mining projects are currently in the approval process, according to Richie Marzian, director of the Australian Institute’s Climate and Energy Program.
“Unfortunately, Australia’s position as the third largest exporter of fossil fuels is unlikely to change anytime soon,” he said.
Although Australia has a long way to go, for the first time in a decade, there appears to be a broad consensus in a large section of the Australian Parliament to take action on climate change. This is a welcome change after the country’s long absence from international discussions, said Jens Matthias Klogen, EU program director at the think-tank Concitor.
“If a new Australian government decides to return to the global stage now in this crucial decade, it could probably make a big difference,” he said. “It’s better to be late than never.”
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