A Climate Change Act for the Northern Territory
9 October 2019
Last month, the NT Government released its Climate Change Response, which is open for public comment until 31 October 2019.
The Climate Change Response includes some important commitments, such as embedding climate change across government decision-making.
However, much more work is required to ensure the Northern Territory has a robust climate change strategy that is consistent with global commitments contained in the Paris Agreement and responds appropriately to the climate emergency.
A Climate Change Act will be critical to deliver on some of the important commitments in the Climate Change Response.
In particular, we consider the 'aspirational' target of net zero emissions by 2050 must be included in law.
A legislated 2050 target must be accompanied by interim targets that establish milestones for tracking progress from year to year, and across various sectors, towards the 2050 target and in line with global targets established by the Paris Agreement.
This will be crucial to ensure there is real accountability in achieving emissions reductions over time.
A Climate Change Act for the Northern Territory should include the following:
legislated greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets - including interim targets to ensure appropriate gains are made at appropriate milestones (e.g. every 3 years) and across different sectors (e.g. onshore and offshore gas, land management and agriculture);
clear obligations on decision-makers (e.g. Ministers) to achieve emissions reductions targets;
requirements for decision-makers to consider climate change (e.g. when granting permits or approvals for development) across various sectors;
a framework for monitoring, reporting and verifying on the actions and progress made (e.g. achieving targets);
an independent expert advisory body to provide objective oversight and expert advice to the NT government about climate change;
a whole-of-government strategic framework for climate change action, and sector specific adaptation 'action plans', which would be subject to regular review and update.
You can read EDONT's previous submission on the NT Government's Climate Change Discussion Paper (2018), which includes more details about a proposed NT Climate Change Act here.
Submissions on the Climate Change Response close 31 October 2019. You can have your say here.