The climate in the Northern Territory is characterised by high temperatures and extreme weather events, such as cyclones, flooding and drought. The rise of temperatures already underway due to climate change will only push this to greater extremes, with subsequent severe impacts on community health and well-being, the environment and the economy.
The NT Government has, in recent years, taken steps towards responding to climate change. It has established a new portfolio, the Minister for Climate Change, and an Office of Climate Change. It has also developed a draft climate change policy – its draft Climate Change Response – which includes an aspirational emissions reduction target of net zero by 2050. An offsets policy, including for GHG emissions, is also being developed.
Yet there is no overarching, comprehensive NT legal framework aimed at limiting warming to within globally agreed goals.
We have developed a proposal for a Climate Change Act that we consider would fill this critical gap, which we have advocated for throughout our engagement with the NT Government’s policy development processes.
Failing to implement adequate legal responses to the serious and system-wide impacts of climate change will have far-reaching and long-term consequences for Territorians, in particular for remote Aboriginal communities, as well as for the spectacular natural environment at the heart of the NT lifestyle and economy.
A Climate Change Act would deliver an accountable decision-making and policy framework for action to align the NT Government’s policies with the global goals set by the Paris Agreement and ratified by Australia, and to appropriately respond to the many, escalating challenges climate change presents.
This EDO factsheet outlines the key aspects of our ideas for a Climate Change Act for the Northern Territory, which would include:
- clear objectives and binding principles
- binding targets
- duties on decision-makers to meet targets
- an independent expert climate advisory council
- monitoring, reporting and verification processes
- a framework for strategic and action planning
- integration of climate change into government decision-making.