Australia’s parliament convened in Canberra on Tuesday for the first time since Labor took control in an election that also saw the Greens party win a record number of seats, underlining Australians’ worry about climate change as bushfires and floods worsened.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his government, which has a majority in the lower house, would submit 18 bills, including a climate change measure that would establish a 43 percent reduction in emissions target by 2030, which the former conservative Liberal government opposed.

To carry the measure through the upper chamber, Labor will require the support of the Greens, who possess 12 Senate seats, as well as at least one independent.

Greens leader Adam Bandt is in talks with the government and said on Tuesday that the 43 percent objective was “weak” and that Labor had set it predicated on maintaining coal-fired power plants in the system.

Nonetheless, the Greens preferred to “improve and pass” the legislation, and had requested that phrasing be adjusted so that the 43 percent aim is a floor rather than a ceiling, he said in an ABC radio interview.

Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen stated that the government will make small wording changes but that its climate change strategy was mandated.

“There are things we have made more explicit in the bill that we will be introducing into parliament, including how the Paris mechanism works to require future targets to be higher than previous targets,” he told reporters after negotiations with the Greens.

Labor has stated that it cannot accept the Greens’ request to halt new coal and gas projects. Coal prices soared in May, making it Australia’s most valued export.

More than a dozen independents with a climate change focus won seats in the lower house in this election. They will deliver their first speeches to the legislature on Tuesday evening.

On July 28, the administration will provide updated economic estimates to parliament to account for higher inflation and rising interest rates.

Source: Reuters

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