Monday 9 November, 2000

Australia’s leading social scientists: Independent MP’s climate Bill “deserves bipartisan support” 

New climate change legislation tabled in Federal Parliament today by Independent MP Zali Steggall OAM provides an opportunity for Australia to move “constructively and decisively” beyond the climate policy impasse of recent years, according to the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

President of the Academy Professor Jane Hall said that the Climate Change (Adaptation and Mitigation) Bill 2020, offers a sensible framework to steer Australia towards a target of net zero emissions by 2050 in a way that is equitable and socially and economically responsible.

“We think the measures Zali Steggall and her Independent colleagues have proposed would be important steps in the right direction for climate policy in Australia and we hope that this Bill receives bipartisan support,” she said.

The Academy is one of a growing number of organisations pushing for better climate policy that achieves reductions in emissions using a least-cost economic framework.

“Recent net zero emissions targets set by China, South Korea and Japan – all big importers of Australian fossil fuels – will have important implications for Australia’s economy and for our exports,” said Professor Hall.

“We also know the cost of not acting is high – a low cost business-as-usual future is not available to us, because of the damage from climate change and the actions of the rest of the world.”

In the Academy’s recent discussion paper, Efficient, Effective and Fair: Climate Policy in Australia, Academy experts called for a climate policy that leverages market-based mechanisms to deliver reduced emissions and a smoother transition to a low-emissions world.

“The proposals outlined in our paper complement both today’s Bill and the Commonwealth Government’s technology roadmap,” said Professor Hall. “This shows that with smart policy design it is possible to put a price on carbon in a way that supports Australian businesses and households in the transition to a low-emissions economy.”

The Academy’s Efficient, Effective and Fair climate policy discussion paper is available at