The NSW Greens have called on the state’s Premier to adopt a nation-leading emissions reduction target of zero net emissions by 2040, in a climate bill introduced into state Parliament last Thursday.
As well as the ambitious emissions target – one the Greens say is merely in keeping with the level of action needed to limit global warming and avoid the most dangerous impacts – the Climate Bill would require governments to develop four-year plans for emissions reductions and climate change adaptation.
It would also ensure every department and council was taking action consistent with addressing climate change, with legal action possible to prevent decisions and actions that would undermine the state’s action on climate change.
“I’ve introduced legislation that would commit current and future governments in New South Wales to strong action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change,” said the Greens’ Jan Barham.
Barham says the bill challenges NSW Premier Mike Baird to show the climate leadership that has been lacking in Australian politics, even under the new federal leadership of Malcolm Turnbull.
“Despite knowing about the growing risks of climate change for more than 25 years, too many governments have squandered their opportunities to act. Continuing with weak national targets will increase the threat to future generations unless the states take responsibility to act now.
“Mike Baird can change the conversation by acknowledging that our state can make the transition away from fossil fuels and toward a zero emissions future, consistent with international agreements and the scientific evidence,” she said.
“The NSW Government’s own analysis recognised that without significant emissions cuts, climate change will have very significant impacts on farming, tourism, on communities across the state and on human health and emergency services.
“This Bill presents the opportunity for innovation, and to ensure the health and wellbeing of the environment and the people as we prepare for an uncertain future.”
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