Australia enshrines in law 43% greenhouse gas reduction aim

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. enshrine / ɛnˈʃraɪn / (v.) – to protect an idea or right through the law or the constitution

    Gender equality is enshrined in the newly passed policy. Discrimination based on gender will no longer be tolerated in schools.

  2. ambitious / æmˈbɪʃ əs / (adj.) – difficult and needing a lot of effort to accomplish

    The wrestler is training hard for his ambitious goal of winning a world title.

  3. commit (someone) to (something) / kəˈmɪt tu / (phrasal v.) – to require someone to do something or to keep an agreement

    This written contract commits the company to provide services exclusively to its client.

  4. accountability / əˌkaʊn təˈbɪl ɪ ti / (n.) – the state of being responsible for something and being able to provide information on it

    The department has the accountability to report how the fund was spent.

  5. amendment / əˈmɛnd mənt / (n.) – a change or an addition to a document, law, constitution, etc.

    Two-thirds of the senators are in favor of the proposed amendments to the 20-year-old law.


Read the text below.

Australia’s Parliament enshrined in law the government’s elevated target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by the end of the decade.

The Senate passed legislation supporting the target in a vote of 37 to 30 even though several senators who supported it wanted a more ambitious 2030 target.

The center-left Labor Party government officially committed Australia to the 43% target after it came to power for the first time in nine years at May elections. But entrenching it in law has made it more difficult for any future government to reduce the target.

Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen said the Senate vote provided certainty to clean energy investors while strengthening transparency and accountability in Australia’s carbon reduction processes.

“The message to investors is that Australia is open for business,” Bowen told Parliament.

The conservative opposition party voted against the bill. The opposition has advocated since 2015 a target of reducing emissions by between 26% and 28%.

Independent senator David Pocock insisted on several amendments touching on transparency and accountability before he supported the bill.

These were soon passed by the House of Representatives, where the government holds a majority. The government holds only 26 of the 76 Senate seats.

Greens party senators supported the 43% ambition although their proposed amendments to increase the target to at least 75% and ban future Australian coal and gas projects were defeated.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Do you think a country is more likely to meet its goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions if the goal is enshrined in its law? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • According to Bowen, the message of the move to investors is that Australia is open for business. What do you think his statement means? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Some of the senators wanted a more ambitious target for reducing greenhouse gasses. Why do you think this wasn’t approved? Discuss.
  • Why do you think it’s important that the government is transparent to the public about the country’s carbon emission and reduction processes? Discuss.