NSW’s emission reduction targets set in stone with new climate bill

Image credit: nsw.gov.au

The New South Wales (NSW) government has introduced the Climate Change (Net Zero Future) Bill 2023, aiming to enshrine legal emissions reduction objectives and establish an independent Net Zero Commission.

Under the new legislation, NSW is firmly committed to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 50 per cent by 2030 and achieving a state of net-zero emissions by 2050.

The government’s initiative to legislate emissions reduction targets aims to provide certainty and opportunities for households, industries, and clean energy investors while demonstrating a firm commitment to climate action, NSW said in a media release.

The prescribed emissions reduction targets for 2030 and 2050 are pivotal for New South Wales to harness substantial economic advantages during the transition to renewable energy.

This transition is also anticipated to draw billions of dollars in private investments, alleviate the cost of energy for households and businesses, and create numerous job opportunities, with a significant focus on regional areas.

To meet these ambitious targets, the NSW government is already taking significant steps, including investing $1.8 billion in renewable energy infrastructure, transmission, and storage through the Transmission Acceleration Facility and Energy Security Corporation.

In addition, the government is creating a new standalone Department for Climate Change, Energy, Environment, and Water and investing in the circular economy to reduce emissions from waste.

The Climate Change (Net Zero Future) Bill 2023 not only sets rigorous emissions reduction targets but also establishes the Net Zero Commission, an independent, expert body responsible for monitoring the state’s progress toward net zero.

According to the government, this commission will provide annual reports to ensure transparency and accountability.

Furthermore, the bill includes guiding principles for action on climate change and sets an objective to make NSW more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

The NSW government and the Net Zero Commission will work closely with the state’s diverse regions and communities to ensure that climate action is community-led, informed, fair, and transparent.

NSW Premier Chris Minns emphasised the government’s commitment to addressing climate change and reducing power bills while highlighting the seriousness of these legislative actions.

He stated, “Enshrining targets in law shows the NSW Labor Government is serious about reaping the benefits of driving down emissions and moving to more affordable, renewable energy.”

Minister for Climate Change, Energy, and the Environment Penny Sharpe underscored the importance of these laws in securing the future of the people of NSW.

“These laws are a down payment on securing the future for the people of NSW. Climate change is already costing NSW through more frequent and more extreme weather events, droughts, floods and other disasters,” the minister noted.