MP Zali Steggall hopes climate bill will shift national debate

MP Zali Steggall hopes climate bill will shift national debate

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The “dysfunctional” influence of climate change deniers within the Coalition, though, meant “there’s a massive problem on the horizon … but we’re not preparing for that problem,” she said.

The climate bill would force the government to assess risks across the economy, such as health and agriculture.

Much like the Close the Gap reports on Indigenous health, ministers would be required to report progress annually both on how their areas are cutting emissions but also preparing for climate impacts.

“Perhaps when they realise what the bill of adaptation [to climate change] is, they won’t think mitigation is too expensive,” she said.

With states and territories already setting net-zero carbon emissions for 2050, the proposed climate bill would mostly be about bringing the Commonwealth in line with them.

“All this does is put us in step with state policies,” Ms Steggall said, adding she had recently met Matt Kean, the NSW Liberal Energy and Environment Minister who has been outspoken about the need for action. “I don’t think I’m being revolutionary.”

To ensure policies focused on the long-term, the bill would also establish an independent Climate Change Commission to set “realistic carbon budgets”, much as the British, New Zealand and other nations have already done, she said.

Once ready, Ms Steggall would seek support from crossbenchers and Labor, and hopes that at least three Coalition MPs would accept the need for serious climate action to secure its passage through the lower house.

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