Submission: Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Climate Trigger) Bill 2022

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) is grateful for the opportunity to make a submission to the Committee's Inquiry into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Climate Trigger) Bill 2022 [No.2].

  1. NSWCCL supports laws that strengthen Australia’s mitigation efforts as a crucial step towards protecting human rights from the impacts of climate change.
  2. We believe the Bill fills an important gap in Australia’s climate change framework which currently leaves the Commonwealth unable to properly manage the development of emissions intensive activities. By giving the Minister the power to ensure further development of such activities occurs in line with a carbon budget, the Bill provides a way towards ensuring Australia’s newly legislated emissions target is achievable.
  3. While we welcome the Bill as an improvement on the current state of affairs, this submission contains six recommendations which we believe will further its aims.

These recommendations include:

  1. That the Government set a carbon budget to provide the Minister with a framework within which to analyse how individual projects will impact the attainment of the target.
  2. That the Bill contain a prohibition on any action that would cause the carbon budget to be exceeded. This would essentially force the Minister to ensure approval decisions were consistent with achieving the carbon budget and target.
  3. A prohibition on the development of activities that would exceed the carbon budget is a more flexible prohibition that will better work towards ensuring the carbon budget is met than a somewhat arbitrary limit.
  4. That proposed section 527F(2) refer to the measurement of emissions in accordance with the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (NGER Act).
  5. Provide guidance to measure scope 3 emissions for the purposes of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
  6. That the Bill be amended to make clear that scope 3 emissions are required to be considered. This will be achieved by expressly referring to the classes (scope 1-3) of emissions to be considered.

For more information, read the full submission