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Australia prioritizes reducing emissions and cheaper electric vehicles

CANBERRA – Australia’s new government will put climate change high on its legislative agenda when Parliament next month for the first time since Wednesday’s 21 election.

A bill is expected to commit Australia to cutting its emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by 2030 when Parliament meets on July 26, Climate Change and Energy Secretary Chris Bowen told the National Press Club.

Another bill would scrap import duties and taxes on electric vehicles cheaper than the A$77,565 ($53,580) luxury car cap.

Just 1.5% of cars sold in Australia are electric or plug-in hybrids, and passenger cars are responsible for almost 10% of the country’s emissions, the government said.

The new centre-left Labor Party government projects that electric vehicles will account for 89% of Australia’s new car sales by 2030.

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The government fleet will switch to 75% zero-emission vehicles, boosting the used electric vehicle market as government vehicles are sold after three years.

The new government has already officially informed the United Nations of Australia of a more ambitious 2030 target than the previous Conservative Liberal Party-led government, a 26% reduction to 28%.

But Bowen said legislation introducing the 43 percent target would inspire more confidence.

“It’s about certainty and stability, primarily for the corporate investment community,” Bowen said.

“It sends a signal when a parliament hasn’t passed a law that maybe the country isn’t serious. Perhaps a future government, heaven forbid a liberal government, could push them back,” Bowen added.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton has ruled out his Liberal Party senators getting the Labor target through the upper chamber. Labor has just 26 seats in the 76-seat Senate, so it needs outside help to get its legislative agenda through.

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If Labor got all 12 senators from the minor Greens to support the target, the government would only have to convince one in six remaining independent or neutral lawmakers to win a majority.

Green Party leader Adam Bandt said he would urge the government to ban new coal mines and gas projects once target legislation is negotiated. The Greens want Australia’s emissions cut by 75% by 2030.

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 0.8% or 4.1 million tonnes (4.5 million US tonnes) last year.

Bowen described the spike as one of the biggest spikes in emissions in 15 years, blaming the previous government’s inaction during its nine-year term.

Factors causing the spike included a 4% increase in transport emissions as the pandemic’s travel restrictions were eased, and 4.2% more agricultural emissions as rain ended years of drought across much of south-east Australia.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/tech/2022/06/29/australia-prioritizes-reducing-emissions-and-cheaper-evs/ Australia prioritizes reducing emissions and cheaper electric vehicles

Sarah Y. Kim

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