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Senators David Pocock, Jacqui Lambie will not “rubber stamp” climate emissions target proposals without changes

Written by Javed Iqbal

“It bundles every bit of emissions reduction into a neat package, but it ends up obscuring all the details,” she said.

The proposed “carbon impact assessment” could examine the impact of the $8 billion annual diesel fuel rebate given to mining companies on the government’s 43 percent emissions reduction target. Emissions reduction projects funded by government agencies such as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation may also be investigated.

Ministers must already present an economic impact assessment when proposing new spending measures. That assessment is included in the legal justification, together with statements on the human rights and regulatory implications of new laws.

Lambie said the proposals to report on progress in reducing emissions did not “force federal politicians to show their hand – show us which policies are working and which are pulling in the wrong direction”.

“I agree with Senator Pocock that a goal is not worth the paper it is written on unless there is some integrity to it.

“In my opinion, if the federal government wants to enact a goal into law, but it doesn’t want to tell us what it’s doing to get there, then we should be concerned about their commitment to the goal in the first place.”

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Pocock also expressed concern over two Australian carbon credit schemes established in the final days of the previous parliament, which he believes will create dubious credits, and which are currently being reviewed.

The government needs the support of the Greens plus an additional senator to pass any legislation the coalition opposes, such as the climate change bill.

Pocock, a progressive ACT senator, and Lambie and Tyrrell from Tasmania are the most likely of the six cross-party senators to back the bill, having already said they back the target.

Their warning that their support cannot be taken for granted comes a day after the Greens confirmed they would vote for the climate bill in both houses of parliament and as Labor hailed an end to the “climate wars”.

The Greens backed the bill through the House of Commons, although party leader Adam Bandt condemned the target as “weak” and promised to shift focus to fighting new coal and gas projects.

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Friday that the harder work of outlining plans to cut emissions and then doing it could now happen.

“You have to have an economic adjustment here. It will require effort. It’s not easy, but we can do it. And as we do that, we can create economic activity – create jobs, especially in our regions,” he told ABC Melbourne.

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Javed Iqbal

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