Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

A Bill for an Act to make provisions for dealing with the threat posed by climate change
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Registered 11 Nov 2008
Introduced HR 10 Nov 2008

2008

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES/THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climate Protection Bill 2008

 

 

(Mr Windsor)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to make provisions for dealing with the threat posed by climate change

  

  

  


Contents

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                               1

1............ Short title............................................................................................ 1

2............ Commencement.................................................................................. 1

3............ External Territories............................................................................. 1

4............ Interpretation...................................................................................... 1

5............ Objects of Act.................................................................................... 3

Part 2—Mandatory target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions          5

6............ National Target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions...................... 5

7............ National Strategy for Reductions in Greenhouse Gas Emissions....... 5

8............ Public consultation on the National Strategy..................................... 7

9............ Just Transitions Committee.............................................................. 8

10.......... Reporting............................................................................................ 8

Part 3 – Energy Efficiency                                                                                                  9

11.......... Nationally co-ordinated approach to energy efficiency..................... 9

Part 4 - GreenPower                                                                                                              9

12.......... Government agencies to purchase accredited renewable energy......... 9

Part 5 – Greenhouse impact statements                                                                  10

13.......... Greenhouse Impact Statements........................................................ 10

Part 6–Recycling                                                                                                                    11

Part 7–Miscellaneous                                                                                                         11

14.......... Schedules.......................................................................................... 11

15.......... Regulations....................................................................................... 11

Schedule 1 - Amendment of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999          12

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to make provisions for dealing with the threat posed by climate change

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

Part 1—Preliminary

1  Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Climate Protection Bill 2008.

2  Commencement

                   This Act commences on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.

3  External Territories

                   This Act extends to the external Territories.

4  Interpretation.

                   In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears:

climate change means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere, and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

climate system means the totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their interactions.

convention means the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted at New York on 9 May 1992.

eligible renewable energy source has the same meaning as in section 17 of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000.

greenhouse gasses means those gaseous constitutes of the atmosphere, both natural          and anthropogenic, that absorb and re-emit infrared radiation, and include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs), perflurocarbons (PFC’s) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). For the purposes of this Act, the definition of greenhouse gases does not include water vapour.

greenhouse gas emissions means emissions of greenhouse gases measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents.

Kyoto Protocol means the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, as amended by any amendment to the Protocol that Australia accepts.

Minister means the Minister for the Climate Change.

Montreal Protocol means the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, adopted in Montreal on 16 September 1997 and subsequently adjusted and amended.

public transport  means trains, ferries, buses, light rail and taxis available for public use.

recycling means the inclusive process of collecting, sorting, and reconstituting through remanufacturing in Australia, materials that would otherwise become solid waste.

renewable energy means energy derived from an eligible renewable energy source.

sectors include agriculture, mining, power, industry, and transport including air transport.

sink means any process, activity or mechanism which removes a greenhouse gas, or a precursor of a greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere.

source means any process or activity which releases a greenhouse gas, or a precursor of a greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

5  Objects of Act

             (1)  The Parliament, by passing this Act, acknowledges:

                     (a)  that climate change represents a severe and immediate threat to the environment in Australia and globally;

                     (b)  that human activities in Australia and globally have been substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases;

                     (c)  that these human derived greenhouse gases will increase the natural greenhouse effect;

                     (d)  that this has resulted in and will continue to result in additional warming of the Earth’s surface;

                     (e)  that this has and will continue to adversely effect ecosystems and humankind;

                      (f)  that, as at the date of assent to this Act, Australia has among the highest per capita emissions of human derived greenhouse gases in the developed world;

                     (g)  that immediate and effective action is required, both in Australia and globally, to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and

                     (h)  that recycling of waste material has a significant role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

             (2)  The objects of this Act are to:

                     (a)  ensure that Australia meets its obligations under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol;

                     (b)  substantially reduce human derived greenhouse gas emissions from Australia;

                     (c)  set a mandatory target for reducing human derived greenhouse gas emissions from Australia by at least 30% below 1990 levels by 2020 and by at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 and to ensure Australia meets this target;

                     (d)  substantially increase the percentage of Australia’s energy being sourced from renewable energy sources;

                     (e)  assist with global efforts to stabilise and reduce human derived greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere;

                      (f)  assist developing countries to adjust to a carbon constrained world and mitigate the impacts of climate change;

                     (g)  implement ecologically sustainable development. The principles of ecologically sustainable development are:

                              (i)  the precautionary principle—namely, that if there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation;

                             (ii)  inter-generational equity—namely, that the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment are maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations;

                            (iii)  conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity—namely, that conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration, and

                            (iv)  improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms—namely, that environmental factors should be included in the valuation of assets and services, such as ‘polluter pays’—that is, those who generate pollution and waste should bear the cost of containment, avoidance or abatement; and

                     (h)  contribute to the conservation of materials used in the manufacture of goods within Australia;

                      (i)  assist with the avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions from landfills; and

                      (j)  facilitate the utilisation of the energy embodied in manufactured goods through materials recycling.

Part 2—Mandatory target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

6  National Target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

             (1)  It is the duty of the Prime Minister to ensure that emissions of greenhouse gases from all sectors from Australia by the year 2020 do not exceed a level which is at least 30% below 1990 emissions levels.

             (2)  It is the duty of the Prime Minister to ensure that emissions of greenhouse gases from all sectors from Australia by the year 2050 do not exceed a level which is at least 80% below the 1990 emissions levels.

7  National Strategy for Reductions in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

             (1)  The Prime Minister must, within 6 months of the commencement of this Act, lay before Parliament a National Strategy to achieve the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from Australia required to meet the National Targets for 2020 and 2050 set out in section 5;

             (2)  The National Strategy must include:

                     (a)  policies and actions intended to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions;

                     (b)  an analysis of the effectiveness of policies and actions previously implemented with the intention of reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions;

                     (c)  an inquiry into the impact of Government taxation and subsidies on Australian greenhouse gas emissions; including tax deductions and subsidies for fossil fuel production and consumption, car use, the aviation industry, fuel excise arrangements, the Energy Grants Credit Scheme, and fringe benefits tax allowances for motor vehicles;

                     (d)  a proposed scheme to phase out direct and indirect subsidies that support fossil fuel production and consumption (with appropriate measures to prevent negative social impacts from subsidy removal, including measures to support public transport);

                     (e)  a proposed scheme to use public funds freed by subsidy removal to support the development of renewable energies and fuels, energy efficiency and demand side management;

                      (f)  a scheme for either or both of:

                              (i)  taxation of greenhouse gas emissions (a carbon tax);

                             (ii)  trading of greenhouse gas emissions (an emissions trading scheme);

                     (g)  a scheme to substantially increase funding for research and development for demand side management, energy efficiency and renewable energy;

                     (h)  a scheme to assist developing countries adjust to a carbon constrained world and mitigate the impacts of climate change;

                      (i)  a scheme to facilitate research into increasing agricultural soil carbon through biologically based techniques;

                      (j)  an assessment of any other steps that could be taken to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the principle that those responsible for generating greenhouse gas emissions should make a financial contribution to the cost of measures to reduce such emissions (the polluter pays principle); and

                     (k)  a clear timeline for when the elements within the National Strategy will be implemented;

                      (l)  an evaluation of any shortfall of inflows into the Murray Darling system that can be attributable to climate change with a view to replacing that “climate change component” from outside sources where climate change has led to an increase in water supplies;

                    (m)  that in any evaluation of the impacts of climate change on the Murray Darling system, an independent study into the potential impacts of mining on groundwater systems in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia are interconnected to surface water systems be conducted.

             (3)  The schemes outlined in paragraphs 7 (2)(c) (d), (e) and (g) must be fully implemented within 2 years of the date of assent of this Act.

             (4)  Prior to implementation, any scheme referred to in paragraphs 2(f) must be certified by an independent panel consisting of 6 members, with at least 2 representatives from environmental non-government organisations, and at least 2 members with expertise in economic instruments or market based trading.

8  Public consultation on the National Strategy

             (1)  Before the National Strategy is laid before Parliament, the Prime Minister must publish a notice:

                      (i)  stating how copies of the draft National Strategy may be obtained, and

                      (ii)  inviting submissions to the Prime Minister on the draft National Strategy, within 30 days.

             (2)  The notice must:

                      (i)  be published in the Gazette, and

                      (ii)  also be published, on at least 2 occasions, in a newspaper circulating nationally.

             (3)  Submissions received must be appropriately considered.

9 Just Transitions Committee

             (1)  The Prime Minister must, within 3 months of the commencement of this Act, establish a Just Transitions Committee (including representatives from state governments, communities directly dependent on employment in coal mines, farmers, industry, unions and non-governmental organisations).

             (2)  The role of the Just Transitions Committee will be to consider and make recommendations in relation to a plan for an equitable and fair transition for coal mining employees and communities affected by Australia’s commitment to a comprehensive greenhouse reduction program.

             (3)  The regulations may make provision for the just transitions committee.

10  Reporting

             (1)  Commencing within 12 months of Royal Assent, the Prime Minister must, by 31 March each year, table in each House of Parliament, and advertise in a national newspaper, a report of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions over the previous year.

             (2)  The report referred to in subsection(1) must also quantify greenhouse gas emissions resulting from or likely to result from the use of fossil fuels which have been exported from Australia over the previous year.

             (3)  Commencing within 12 months of Royal Assent, the Prime Minister must, by 31 March each year, lay before Parliament, and advertise in a national newspaper, a report on the progress in implementing the National Strategy, and any changes to the National Strategy that the Prime Minister proposes to make.

Part 3 – Energy Efficiency

11  Nationally co-ordinated approach to energy efficiency

             (1)  The Prime Minister must, within 6 months of the commencement of this Act, implement a scheme for a nationally co-ordinated approach to energy efficiency, including mandatory energy efficiency standards for energy generators and retailers, new homes, substantial renovations of existing homes, commercial buildings, appliances, vehicles, industrial machinery and equipment.

             (2)  The regulations may make provision for the scheme for a nationally co-ordinated approach to energy efficiency.

Part 4 - GreenPower

12  Government agencies to purchase accredited renewable energy

             (1)  All Agencies must establish a timeline to purchase electricity with 100% renewable energy accredited under the National GreenPower Accreditation Program.

             (2)  For the purpose of this Act, ‘Agency’ has the same meaning as in Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.

Part 5 – Greenhouse impact statements

13  Greenhouse Impact Statements

             (1)  Before any Act, regulation or statutory instrument is made, the responsible Minister must ensure that a Greenhouse Impact Statement is prepared in connection with the substantive matters to be dealt with by the Act, regulation or statutory instrument.

             (2)  The Greenhouse Impact Statement must contain an assessment of the impact of the proposed Act, regulation or statutory instrument on greenhouse gas emissions from Australia and globally.

             (3)  Before an Act, regulation or statutory instrument is made, the responsible Minister must ensure that:

                     (a)  as far as is reasonably practicable, a notice is published in the Gazette advising where a copy of the Greenhouse Impact Statement may be obtained or inspected, and inviting comments and submissions within a specified time, but not less than 21 days from publication of the notice;

                     (b)  as far as is reasonably practicable, a copy of the Greenhouse Impact Statement is made available on the relevant Department website inviting comments and submissions within a specified time, but not less than 21 days from publication of the Greenhouse Impact Statement on the Department website; and

                     (c)  all comments received are appropriately considered.

             (4)  The Minister must, by 31 March each year, prepare an annual Greenhouse Report which summarises the impact that Acts, regulations and statutory instruments made, in the previous year, had on greenhouse gas emissions from Australia and globally.

Part 6–Recycling

                   For a company involved in the collection, sorting, processing and remanufacture of recycled goods, the audited carbon abatement value of that recycling activity chain, including emissions avoided from landfill, should be credited against that company’s emissions liability under any Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

Part 7–Miscellaneous

14  Schedules

                   Each Act that is specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

15  Regulations

                   The Governor-General may make regulations prescribing matters:

                     (a)  required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed; or

                     (b)  necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act.


Schedule 1 - Amendment of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

1 After paragraph 3(i)(e)

Insert:

                           (ae)  to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Australia and to assist with global efforts to stabilise and reduce human derived greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere;

2  After subparagraph 3(2)(e)(i)

Insert:

                            (ia)  ensure that projects having an adverse impact on the climate system are assessed and approved by the Commonwealth; and

3  After paragraph 3A(a)

Insert:

                           (aa)  decision-making processes should consider and where possible minimise the adverse impact of climate change on the environment;

4  After section 22A

Insert:

22B Offences relating to nuclear power reactors

             (1)  A person is guilty of an offence if the person constructs or expands a nuclear power reactor.

             (2)  An offence against subsection (1) is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a term not more than 30 years, a fine of not more than 20,000 penalty units, or both.

                   Note 1: Subsection 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 lets a court fine a body corporate up to 5 times the maximum amount the court could fine a person under this subsection.

Note 2: An executive officer of a body corporate convicted of an offence against this section may also be guilty of an offence against section 495.

5  After Subdivision E of Division 1 of Part 3

Insert:

Subdivision EA – Protection of the environment from greenhouse gas emissions

22C  Prohibition of logging in old growth forests

             (1)  A person is guilty of an offence if the person conducts logging activities in any forest that is ecologically mature and/or where the upper stratum or overstorey is in the late mature growth phase.

Note: Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

             (2)  An offence against subsection (1) is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a term not more than 7 years, a fine of not more than 420 penalty units, or both.

Note : Subsection 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 lets a court fine a body corporate up to 5 times the maximum amount the court could fine a person under this subsection.

6  Section 528

Insert:

adverse effects of climate change means changes in the physical environment or biota resulting from climate change which have significant deleterious effects on the composition, resilience or productivity of natural and managed ecosystems or on the operation of socio-economic systems or on human health and welfare.

7  Section 528

Insert:

climate change means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

8  Section 528

Insert:

climate system means the totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their interactions.

9  Section 528

Insert:

greenhouse gases means those gaseous constitutes of the atmosphere, both natural and anthropogenic, that absorb and reemit infrared radiation, and include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs), perflurocarbons (PFC’s) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). For the purposes of this Act, the definition of greenhouse gases does not include water vapour.


10  Section 528

Insert:

greenhouse gas emissions means emissions of greenhouse gases measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents


 

Schedule 2 – Amendment of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000

1 Section 4

Omit:

                   “However, no certificates can be created, and no liability arises, in respect of electricity generated on or after 1 January 2021.”

2  After section 39

Insert:

             (1)  The Minister shall cause a review of the renewable power percentage to be conducted in 2010 and in 2015.

             (2)  The review must be conducted by a panel consisting of 8 members, with at least 2 representatives from environmental non-government organisations, at least 2 members nominated by the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator; and 2 academics with expertise in renewable energy.

             (3)  The renewable power percentage may only be amended if the amendment will result in an increase in the renewable power percentage.

3  Section 40

Repeal the section, substitute

40 Renewable power percentage from 2020 to 2050

             (1)  Regulations must specify a renewable power percentage from 2020 to 2050.

             (2)  The renewable power percentage must be set so that, by 2050, 80% of all electricity consumed in Australia is sourced from eligible renewable sources.

4 After section 43

Insert:

43A  Use of renewable energy shortfall charge

                   It is the wish of the Parliament that any renewable energy shortfall charge payable to the Crown under this Part be used for the encouragement and funding of renewable energy projects.