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Australia sets new climate target in landmark bill

Australia has legislated a climate target for the first time, with a promise to slash emissions by at least 43% by 2030 passing the parliament.

The new Climate Change Bill is an end to a decade of climate policy inaction by the government. As one of the world's biggest emitters per capita, and the target brings it more in line with other developed countries. The new commitment is a big improvement on previous targets. Mark Howden, vice chair of the IPCC, has said It could take Australia's carbon emission from 24 tonnes per person down to around 14 tonnes per person.

The Labour government's climate bill cleared the Senate by 37 votes to 30 after accepting minor amendments by independent David Pocock. Although the move still will not make them a global leader in climate change with many campaigning for more to be done.

Canada is aiming for a reduction of 40% by 2030 from 2005 levels, while the United States has a target of up to 52%.

In recent years, Australia has suffered severe drought, historic bushfires, successive years of record-breaking floods, and six mass bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef.

The country is racing towards a future full of similar disasters, the latest UN IPCC report warns.

New research also shows that natural disasters have cost Australian households on average more than A$1,485 (£870; $1,000) in the past year. A report by the Insurance Council of Australia blames the soaring costs on catastrophic flooding in the east of the country in February and March. The report says costs will continue to rise for years to come because of extreme weather.

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Source: BBC News


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