Australian government strikes deal on climate policy

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Legislation for the Australian government’s signature climate policy is set to pass parliament after the Greens agreed to support the bill.

   The governing Labor Party on Monday secured the support it needs from the left-wing party to implement its safeguard mechanism.

   The centerpiece of the government’s commitment to reduce Australia’s carbon emissions by at least 43 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, the mechanism will impose emissions limits on the country’s 215 largest-polluting facilities.

   Those facilities, including mines, factories, smelters and processors, will be required to cut their emissions by 4.9 percent every year till 2030 or pay for carbon offsets.

   According to projections, it will reduce Australia’s carbon footprint by a cumulative 205 million tons by 2030.

   After the Opposition Liberal and National parties ruled out support for the legislation, the government required the support of the Greens in addition to independents to pass it through the Senate.

   The Greens had previously declared they would not support the bill unless Labor ruled out approving new fossil fuel projects, but on Monday reached a compromise with a new amendment that will put a hard cap on emissions allowed under the bill.

   Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the mechanism was good news for climate action and the manufacturing industry.

   “We need to act on climate change. We can’t afford to continue to engage in conflict in this place in order to try to get the perfect outcome,” he told reporters in Canberra.

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