THE Albanese government has used its May 21 mandate to return Australia to the table of nations committed to dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the name of countering global warming.
Assuming the Climate Change Bill passes the Senate as expected, it will no longer matter what the sceptics or the deniers think.
We will be legally bound to cut our emissions until the 2030 total is 43 per cent below the 2005 level, as a stepping stone to "net zero" emissions by 2050.
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As the Department of Industry has confirmed to the Newcastle Herald, the "actual" 2030 target is a more modest - but still considerable - cut of 27 per cent from where we were in June last year.
In round figures, then, we will be working to cut emissions by a quarter in a bit more than seven years.
On an annual basis, that works out at a bit over three percentage points a year.
As manageable as this might sound, it will likely prove more difficult in the real world, because no matter what support business leaders show now for the principle, they may well be less amenable when the time comes for their particular sectors to tighten their belts.
And as we see now with the announcement of the Hunter's ocean waters being selected as one of six potential offshore wind-power generating areas, the transition to a low-emissions grid will carry its own environmental costs.
In a similar fashion, the need to connect inland wind and solar farms with big coastal cities will mean farmers and other private landholders owners having to accommodate all-important new high-voltage powerlines on their properties, in the name of the environment and the national interest.
This energy "transition" can be justifiably described as an energy revolution, and its impacts, as with any revolution, will be widespread and unpredictable.
As the Herald has shown through our Power and the Passion series, it is a transition that will impact on this region as deeply as anywhere in the country.
But the series has also shown the Hunter's enthusiasm and expertise in tackling the challenge.
This will be a difficult journey, but with the Climate Change Bill and its subsequent regulation, we have a new chapter in the official guidebook to 2030, with net zero by 2050 as the ultimate destination.
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