The NSW Climate Change Bill has passed Parliament after amendments were made earlier this week, making the state's net zero target a legally binding duty.
In a statement, the government said this legislation would build on progress which has already seen NSW's existing progress of an 18 per cent reduction on 2005 levels of greenhouse gas emissions, by going beyond aspirational targets and enshrining them in law.
After passing both Houses of Parliament, the Climate Change (Net Zero Future) Bill will soon be signed into law by the NSW Governor.
The Climate Change (Net Zero Future) Act will:
- Require NSW to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 50pc by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.
- Require NSW to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70pc by 2035 compared to 2005 levels.
- Require NSW to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050.
- Establish an independent Net Zero Commission to monitor, review, report on and advise on progress towards these targets.
- Establish guiding principles to address climate change.
- Commit to NSW becoming more resilient to climate change.
Minister for Climate Change, Energy and the Environment Penny Sharpe said the bill would provide the framework for NSW to embark on the essential journey to net zero emissions and better resilience to climate change.
"Climate change is an environmental challenge, but also poses an economic opportunity. This Bill provides certainty for industry, business, investors and all sectors of the NSW economy, and shows them they are not alone in responding to this challenge."
Greens MP and spokesperson for climate change, Sue Higginson, said the new Net Zero Commission would have the power to provide advice on coal and gas projects, "which will no doubt become a barrier to the approval of any new or expanded fossil fuels projects and will set NSW on a path to end coal and gas for good".
Information previously released by the NSW Government said the bill would commit NSW to making its contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and its contribution to keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees.
The State Government also said the new commission would be an independent, expert body that monitored the state's progress to net zero; it would report annually to ensure parliamentary transparency and accountability; and, put in place guiding principles for action to address climate change.
It said in doing so, the Government and the new commission would "liaise with the state's diverse regions and communities to ensure climate action is community-led, informed, fair and transparent".
Farmers for Climate Action CEO Natalie Collard said it was "fantastic that the Government, the NSW Liberal Party, NSW Nationals, Greens and crossbenchers worked together to get an excellent result."
"The emissions reduction target was strengthened to ensure stronger action on climate change and a more secure future for our farmers."
Legislating emissions targets and establishing a Net Zero Commission were an election promise of the current State Government.